The beauty pageant world isn’t especially known for its inclusivity. ‘Himalayan Buzz – Mr Uttarakhand’ has broken barriers with its first, openly gay contestant – Bharat, who’s proudly and very confidently bagged the runners-up title.
It’s taken a long for a beauty pageant in India to display such inclusivity, but it was about time.
Born and brought up in a conservative family in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Bharat, for sure, did not have an easy journey. When he figured out his sexual orientation, he almost felt suicidal due to immense fear and guilt.
He finally decided to open up to his parents. Initially, his family was taken aback, but in due course, his parents accepted him wholeheartedly. But that did not mean the end of his ordeal. His life became a constant struggle.
He was mocked and bullied in school and college every single day to the extent that. for a while, Bharat’s confidence, morale, and mental health went for a toss. But very soon he realized that he should not let these things affect him and that he should proudly accept his own identity.
He knew that if he has to move ahead in life and achieve his goals, he cannot afford to let society’s opinion of him belittle his confidence. He did not want to get punished each day in his life for absolutely no fault of his, rather he wished to set a good example for others in the queer community. And since then, for Bharat, there’s been no looking back!
Determined to follow his dreams, Bharat participated in the Himalayan Buzz – Mr. Uttarakhand pageant and proudly bagged the runners-up title. His participation in the event will go a long way in opening doors for many in the queer community.
Bharat’s participation and victory are definitely a huge step forward for the queer community as it will give them the confidence to open up, shed the shame and be totally proud of their identities. It’s also a message for the society, as a whole, to be more open, inclusive and supportive of people, irrespective of their sexual orientation.