Divgikar, who was representing India in the 6th annual Mr Gay World contest, won the titles of Mr. Congeniality and Mr. Art as well as the People’s Choice Award. The contest ended Aug 30 in Rome.
Stuart Hatton Jr from the United Kingdom was crowned Mr. Gay World 2014, while Kiriakos Spanos of Cyprus was the first Runners up, and Robert Lowlor of Ireland was the 2nd Runners Up.
Divgikar, 24, an Indian model was among delegates from 32 countries, including Pakistan and Syria. Participants had to undergo a written test, photo session, sports challenge, swim wear competition, online popular vote, art challenge, speech and a strenuous “job interview” in front of seven judges.
The contest describes itself as “searching for a global gay man as an ambassador for LGBTs” and “celebrates the pride and rights of the International Gay Male,” according to the competition’s press release.
Divgikar participation is considered somewhat as a cause célèbre in India because he chose to be a flag-bearer for gay pride even though his country has strict anti-gay laws.
“The courage that comes with the participation itself cannot be denied, given that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code deems a same-sex sexual relationship an ‘unnatural offence’ punishable by a 10-year jail term,” said mid-day.com, a popular Indian newspaper.
Earlier, speaking on anti-gay discrimination in India, Divgikar said: “Why can’t they accept us the way we are, and allow us to keep our individuality intact? We don’t impose our preferences on them, so why do they have to impose their preferences on us,” he asked.