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Mr Gay England’s first trans finalist Chiyo Gomes: ‘TERFs genuinely want to destroy the trans existence’

"Trans young people need to know that they deserve crowns, medals and awards.”

By Thomas Stichbury

Drag king Chiyo Gomes holds court about his journey to becoming the first trans finalist in the queerstory of the Mr Gay England competition.

Appearing in the Attitude November issue – out now to download and to order globally – Chiyo explains why he wants to shake up the traditionally white, cis male contest.

“I am so proud of myself and I’m definitely embracing all the joy that comes with this moment – but I cannot deny the absolute shock and horror that co-exist with that joy,” he starts.

“To be the first trans person to do anything, in 2020, feels somewhat uncomfortable. Trans men exist. Trans gay men exist. Why has it taken so long for one to be platformed in this way? This time is about practising finding comfort in being both exceptionally content and incredibly angry.”

A bright light on London’s queer scene, Chiyo was tagged on Twitter in one of My Gay England’s application posts by LGBTQ+ haven The Glory, where he regularly performs.

Chiyo Gomes, shot by Francisco Gomez de Villaboa exclusively for the Attitude November issue, out now

“At the time, I still hadn’t had my chest reconstruction surgery and, even now, I have no interest in taking hormones. There is much to be said about the palatability of tolerated transness, and I guess seeing this beautiful team [The Glory] think I was worthy to be the next Mr Gay England really warmed me. So, I thought, f*** it, why not?” he recalls.

“[However], I really underestimated how much I would care for what winning this competition would mean. My greatest fear now is that I will not be strong enough to persevere through the toxicities that can brew within the cis gay male community.”

Chiyo – who launched a GoFundMe in January 2019 to pay for his top surgery – is well aware of the backlash against him.

“The people who take issue with me being visible in this space will tell you exactly how I am shaking things up. I am a trans man. I am also mixed-black African. I am not on hormones and I have no intention of getting any procedures done that may impact my WAP,” he says.

Photography: Francisco Gomez de Villaboa

“I am extremely femme and I don’t play into this ‘masc for masc’ bulls***. I have a period once a month and I have no qualms openly talking about how my pussy bleeds and how difficult that makes navigating spaces as a gay man.

“I am not actively trying to be a controversial man. I am just existing, and through said existence I notice that only cis people have won this competition every year. I think the fact that I am here to challenge that is punk as f***!”

The 24-year-old North Londoner adds that he has been targeted by TERFs since the announcement was made.

“People have been posting very old, pre-surgery, semi-nude pictures of me, just to troll my dysphoria. I cannot hide the fact that I am a hairless small boy pumped with oestrogen,” he continues.

“Every time I achieve greatness there is a herd of TERFs waiting to try and kill me. I say kill me because TERFs genuinely want to destroy the trans existence.”

Rising above the toxicity and trolling, Chiyo insists that taking home the Mr Gay England title – the final is due to take place in April 2021 – would not only be a win for him, but the trans community.

“I am so tired of the trans folk having to settle for diversity tokens. Trans young people need to know that they deserve crowns, medals and awards. They/we deserve to be loved, cherished and appreciated,” he reflects.

“To be a finalist is cool, but if you were to crown a trans person… just think about what kind of message that sends out.”

Read the full interview in the Attitude November issue, out now to download and to order globally.

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