Mr Gay Europe 2018 crowned in Poland, despite protests
Pride parade through Polish city’s streets attracted hundreds of protesters
The final of this year’s edition of Mr Gay Europe took place on Saturday in the western city of Poznan in Poland, a conservative and devout Catholic country where many do not accept homosexuality.
“I hope this will help us in our fight for the same rights as those enjoyed in the rest of Europe,” said event organiser Pawel Zabilski.
Enrique Doleschy, the 30-year-old German who beat six other finalists to win the title, said the event was necessary so long as gay people are disrespected and unable to be themselves.
“As long as there’s one person feeling like this, we need competitions like this to bring out the best in people and to force them, to drive them, to be better for each other,” he insisted.
A gay pride parade was held earlier in the day to coincide with the event and attracted hundreds of protesters.
“It’s not right to give privileges [to gay people] or elevate them to the level of families,” said protester and abortion rights activist Maciej Wiewiorka. “Giving them the right to adopt when these are freaks is absurd and shouldn’t happen.”
Same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children in Poland, which is one of Europe’s most devout countries and where the Church continues to play a key role in shaping attitudes.
According to a 2014 opinion poll from the CBOS institute, 70 per cent of Poles thought homosexual relations were unacceptable.