Francois Nel – Mr Gay World 2011
Commemorating National Youth Day on Thursday, Mr. Gay World 2011 Francois Nel urged LGBTI youth in South Africa to “find your talents and build your dreams”.
In a message published on his blog, the South African-born Nel acknowledged the sacrifices of the young people who took part in the anti-apartheid struggle and specifically the 16 June 1976 Soweto riots.
The 29-year-old said that their actions helped lead South Africa to its present “progressive constitution, one that enforces human rights for all, including the LGTBI community”.
He added that “the adolescent years are vital, they are imperative in recognising your talents and cultivating them towards all the dreams that you have for your future”.
He said that while “sexuality forms a big part of who you are, it is not all encompassing or all defining of who you are”.
Nel added: “Irrespective of the discrimination that you might face in your youth or at any time, find your talents and build your dreams – yet be YOU! True to your natural identity…”
Nel, a Pretoria make-up artist, was crowned Mr. Gay World in the Philippines in March.