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Mr Gay Ethiopia disowned by his family; father recommends suicide

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Ethiopia's Robel Hailu took part in the grand finale of the Mr. Gay World 2012 competition in Johannesburg, Sunday, April 8, 2012.

Ethiopia’s delegate for the Mr Gay World (MGW) competition, Robel Hailu, has been disowned by his own family and cut off financially. His father has recommended that Robel commit suicide to remove the shame he has brought to the family.

However, Robel has not withdrawn from the Mr Gay World (MGW) event.

For the first time, black Africans will participate in Mr Gay World. Africa was to be represented by South Africa, Namibia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe – all four places allotted to the continent. However, due to relentless pressure on his family in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean delegate had to withdraw.

Namibia’s representative, Wendelinus Hamutenya, also suffered hardship when he was attacked in early December which saw him land in hospital.

The Ethiopian delegate, Robel Hailu, is a student in South Africa and after his candidacy was announced on Ethiopian radio, a storm broke loose in his home country. There were threats to his life and he was disinherited by his family. Even worse, his father called him and said that it is the last time they will ever speak, that he has brought incredible shame on his family and that he must kill himself to save his soul.

Ethiopia is the second most homophobic country in Africa (after Mali) with 97% of the population condemning homosexuality according to a recent poll.

“I hope and I believe that Namibia will be the second country in Africa to recognize the rights” of gays, Hamutenya said in an interview.

The first country is South Africa, also the first African country to host Mr. Gay World, which debuted in 2009 in Canada. The bill of rights adopted after apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994 explicitly bans discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Same-sex couples can marry and adopt children in South Africa.

In the end, New Zealand’s Andreas Derleth, a 32-year-old manager for a chain of stationery stores, was named Mr. Gay World. A disappointed Hamutenya said he would nonetheless return to Namibia to fight “for gay rights and human rights.”

Source: Ethiopean News – Timma Times