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By ExpatBriefing.com Editorial
23 October, 2013
An American expatriate living in Hong Kong has become the city's fifth "Mr Gay," and the third foreigner to win the competition.
Michael Morrill, who is a teacher, was awarded the title at a Grand Finale pageant held at Giorgio Armani's Hong Kong nightclub, Armani/Privé. For the next year he will serve as Red Ribbon Ambassador for AIDS Concern, campaigning for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and as the face of Tongzhi Tsai, a campaign against homophobic bullying in schools. He will also represent Hong Kong at the Mr Gay World pageant in 2014 in Rome.
The first Mr Gay Hong Kong competition, held in 2009, was won by American fitness instructor Rick Twombley, while last year's winner, Benjie Caraig, was born in the Philippines.
Morrill was chosen by a panel of judges that included, among others, fashion designer Marisa Zeman, broadaster Brian Leung, HK magazine Managing Editor Sarah Fung, barrister and human rights activist Michael Vidler, and jewellery company CEO Joanne Ooi. Ooi said that she had been "thrilled and honored" to have been asked to judge, observing that LGBT issues "tend to be ignored" despite Hong Kong's cosmopolitan nature.
In January, there was disappointment among gay-rights activists in Hong Kong when the Government confirmed that it would not hold public consultations on including sexual orientation in existing anti-discrimination legislation. Morrill says he intends to establish a non-profit organization for the benefit of Asia's "marginalized" LGBT community.
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