Mr. Gay World 2015
Mr. Gay World 2015: India's Contestant Thahir Mohammed Sayyed Withdraws Citing Threats to His FamilyFacebook/Mr.Gay World

Thahir Mohammed Sayyed, India's official entry for Mr Gay World 2015, has pulled out from the pageant following alleged threats of ostracism from his community. Sayyed, a Brisbane-based model, has gone into hiding with his family after withdrawing from the pageant.

In a statement to DNA, Sayyed said that he has faced difficulties and he cannot take the pressure.

"I am withdrawing from the contest. I hope the organizers appreciate the difficulties I faced. I cannot take this pressure. I have switched off my phone to prevent getting any unwanted calls."

When asked about his family and the ongoing pressure, Sayyed replied: "Talking about this will only worsen things".

Human rights and LGBT activists in Kerala have expressed concerns and regret over Sayyed's withdrawal from the pageant.

"It's a sad thing that MGW will see a no-show by India because of the way things have worked out," LGBT rights activist Jijo Kurukose of the Queerala told DNA.

Mr. Gay World is an international pageant for gay men. The pageant was started in 2008 by Eric Butter and Dean Nelson with a mission to empower gay men to come together and show the world that being gay encompasses a broad spectrum, according to the official website.

The organisers of Mr. Gay World 2015 were disappointed after Sayyed pulled out from the pageant.

"We created this event to combat homophobia, but for a delegate and his family to go through such harassment is unacceptable and we have to be sympathetic with him," Eric told DNA.

Mr. Gay World is a weeklong event that will kick start on 26 April. The event will be held in Cape Town and Knysna, South Africa. Contestants from 20 countries are part of the pageant.

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