He confesses that, at first, he thought Mr Gay Hong Kong was merely about a good-looking man with a great body being recognized and desired by other people.
This view changed after he met some of the organisers, contestants and sponsors. One example is the Pink Alliance, a local group that aims to link up the various “tongzhi” organisations in Hong Kong and help them with their work.
Caraig remembers thinking: “How come I never met these people? They are trying to make a difference in this community.” This was when he realised that being Mr Gay Hong Kong was like being the spokesperson of the gay community, that he could really reach out to help others and fight for their rights.
Apart from a magazine cover, free haircuts, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Mr Gay World in Antwerp, Belgium next year, the title involves being the ambassador for a campaign against homophobic bullying in schools.
In fact, Caraig has been making good use of his creativity to raise money for a local charity that supports the gay community. One of his projects this year is the “BITCH Shirt”, which is the acronym for brave, independent, trendy, caring and a hero. It is a collection of sport shirts designed by Caraig and the project’s proceeds will go to Elements, a local organisation that strives to promote “Quality Gay Life” through education and social services.
Although he is impressed with the strides made by the gay community in Hong Kong in recent years, he still believes organisations need more support and publicity. He says, for example, that when he was helping to promote Pink Season in Lan Kwai Fong, some people just ignored them. “I think it’s time that we should go hand in hand and fight for our own rights,” he says.
Asked to define what gay rights should encompass, Caraig points to the right “to live our lives freely without any rejection, discrimination and fear of society disowning us as human beings.”
For those who are too scared to come out because of pressure from society or any other concerns, Caraig reminds them that they can always find the support and love they need from the expanding gay community. He knows it is a difficult process to go through, but he thinks this is a good time for them to accept and embrace their sexuality.
For him, the thing that is missing in the world, and which could solve many of its problems is respect. “There is discrimination against race, sex and even physical appearance because we are not even reminded of the word respect,” he says.
His motto for life is “Love Plus Respect Equals Peace.” It is a motto that he will be repeating many times in his work as Mr Gay Hong Kong in the coming year, a year that will be busy with interviews, publicity events, advocacy and fund-raising. But it is also a motto he will be repeating long after his reign is over.
“Forever, I’ll be Mr Gay Hong Kong 2012. This is just a platform for me to do whatever I wanted to do. I’ll continue until the day I die to support the gay community.”