Francisco José Alvarado — Photos: Francisco José Alvarado / Instagram
Francisco José Alvarado, a 30-year-old Spanish doctor who recently recovered from COVID-19, has been named Mr. Gay World.
His reign begins amid unusual circumstances for the competition, which seeks to find a global ambassador for LGBTQ rights, after it was forced to delay its 2020 contest until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the lack of a 2020 contest, and with 2019 winner Janjep Carlos’ year-long reign concluding at the end of April, organizers decided that Alvarado, last year’s first runner-up, would take over until next year’s competition.
“It is unfortunate that we are postponing this year’s event to March 2021 but we will be back greater and stronger; in these unprecedented times we lead by example and by the ability to cope with change and adjust,” Eric Butter, President, owner and founder of Mr. Gay World, said in a statement. “The contest will take place in Johannesburg from the 21st to the 28th of March, 2021. I am very much looking forward to it as this is the second time it will be held in Johannesburg. The first was in 2012 and it was one of the best Mr. Gay World™ events ever.”
Butter thanked Carlos for his efforts during his time as Mr. Gay World, and said that Alvarado “will contribute and will ensure that a diverse range of projects and ideas are executed to advance LGBTQ+ rights and the community in general.”
Alvarado, who previously won Mr. Gay Pride España 2018, spoke to Spanish media outlet Redacción Médica about being named to the title, and his recent experience with COVID-19.
After his symptoms worsened, he was tested for COVID-19 on March 12. The test came back positive, and he quarantined in his room at his shared apartment for 19 days, though Alvarado said his symptoms only lasted for the first six days.
“When I told my grandmother she burst into tears,” he said. “Little was known about the disease at the time and there was fear of uncertainty.”
On March 31, he was tested again. It came back negative, and Alvarado was able to return to work on April 3, which is where he learned that he would be stepping into the title of Mr. Gay World.
“I was at the health center when they told me,” he said, calling the news an “injection of fresh air in the circumstances we’re living.”
In addition to warning about the severe nature of the virus, Alvarado said that conditions at the hospital have started to take their toll on staff.
“This is my sixth year working and I’ve never seen patients so bad every day,” he said. “There were patients who were fine one day and the next they had very high fever spikes and low oxygen saturation.”
Of his fellow health care workers, he said, “The tiredness…is already noticeable. We are more irascible and [have] much less patience.”
Spain has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, with more than 280,000 confirmed cases of the virus and almost 28,000 deaths.
However, there are signs that the worst of the pandemic might be over, as the country registered its lowest daily death toll in more than two months.
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