As the Mr Gay World competition ramps up to the finale this weekend and all of the delegates start to feel the pressure, Mr Gay Pride Spain Francisco Alvarado continues to smile and hug everyone which has become his trademark over the past week here in Cape Town.
For Alvarado, a Doctor in a multicultural health centre in Madrid, he sees Mr Gay World as not so much competition between delegates but a team effort working towards a common goal.
“The truth is that I do not consider the rest of the delegates competition,” Alvarado explained to Gay Nation.
“The only competition we have is ourselves. It is a contest in which the delegates are a team and we row together in the same direction to fight for our rights.
“What I expect from my colleagues is a good coexistence based on respect.”
Born in a small town in Extremadura, Montánchez, in the south-western part of Spain, Alvarado grew up in a rural environment where discovering and accepting your sexually was very difficult due to the lack of any LGBTIQ exampled or role models.
“When I was a teenager I assumed that I wanted women to fall in love with and men to have sex because I did not conceive the idea of forming a couple with a boyfriend or a family with a husband.
“Until I was 18 I lived in my town. Then I moved to Salamanca to study medicine and for 5 years I live in Madrid, where I have specialized in Family and Community Medicine.
“During my fifth year at the University, I went to Turkey with a scholarship. I lived for 9 months in Istanbul and had the opportunity to meet other gays and trans people from the Middle East.
“I learned a lot about the reality of the LGTBIQ + collective in the Arab world.
“It was very enriching to know their testimonies in countries where homosexuality is condemned. They are very hard stories marked by fear and discrimination suffered.”
Alvarado’s journey to Mr Gay World and Cape Town started as his Instagram following increased and he received messages from across the world.
“I have managed to reach many people in social networks, especially in my Instagram profile (fj_alv), receiving messages from all parts of the world that appreciate the work I do giving visibility to the LGTBIQ + collective.
“In addition, I like my day to day to motivate other people to fight for what they want, to help them overcome their fears and to be respectful of what they feel.
“All this together with my healthcare activity as a health professional made Mr. Gay Pride Spain see it as an opportunity to expand my field of work as an activist and continue to defend values, beyond the physical aspect.”
Last year in the Mr Gay Pride Spain Provincial Gala he placed second runner-up, as his social work and activism improved he and then was invited by Mr Gay Pride Spain to represent his region in the country finals in which he won.
“I was fortunate to be awarded with the title of Mr Gay Pride Spain 2018 and, in this way, to be able to continue developing my social commitment.
“I’m excited about everything. I am very excited and proud to be able to represent Spain in Mr Gay World 2019 and continue adding to the LGTBIQ + activism.
“I am also excited to know the reality of other places in the world because from them I will learn many things to improve our work together.
“I am resilient, cheerful, positive and very affectionate.
“Probably, it is my vocation as a doctor, my work in community activities or dealing with many patients that will help me develop that capacity to identify with others and share their feelings, so that they place their trust in me.
“As for my physical appearance, I would highlight a transparent look and my contagious smile.
“In short, I think I have a set of qualities that make me a very complete candidate, also highlighting a great social work that covers sexual health, acceptance, diversity, respect and communication skills through social networks.”
Alvarado will join 21 of the other delegates on stage at the Mr Gay World Finale this Saturday night at the Cape Town City Hall starting at 6pm.