Monday, December 21, 2009

"I AM A MAN, I JUST HAPPEN TO BE GAY"



Hey there folks!

so here is my weekly update for you guys and gals to read and comment on!

It once again made me proud to be a gay man today when i read the article about Welsh Rugby Hero Gareth Thomas who came out recently to the public. In a sport that is still pretty much stuck in old beliefs and mind sets, it is not easy to say 'hey there guys, i am gay!'. lets face it, we dont imagine the average rugby player to be gay, do we?

But for this man it was a moment in life which, as for so many of us, brought him relief- now being able to simply BE who he is, and at the same time worry- not knowing what the world might think! Yet he took that step and came out!

"Ive been through all sorts of emotions with this, tears, anger and absolute despair. I wasnt sure if I ever wanted people to know and, to be honest, I feel anxious about peoples reactions and the effect it might have on my family. i dnt want to be knows as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I AM A MAN. I just happen to be gay. Its irrelevant. What i do when i close the door at home has nothing to do with what i have acheived".
What was equally as incredible was the response he got from the community and fellow sportsmen in support for his descision to come out!
'Its very brave of him. Ive been there myself, so I know how hard it is, but as a player I think its probably even more difficult. He's made it easier for the next guy now; this is breaking new ground!!"-Referee Nigel Owens

I applaude you Gareth Thomas for taking such a BRAVE step and for standing up for who you are! I applaude you for breaking new ground and for opening the door so that other sportsmen and women can also take that step and just BE!
 I echo your words:

I AM A MAN. I JUST HAPPEN TO BE GAY!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

GETTING USED TO A NEW 'NORMAL'

Hey there!

Well, if week one was somewhat of a foretaste to what life as Mr Gay South Africa was going to be like, I tell you week two just topped it!

This was another week filled with media interviews and response from the public about Mr Gay South Africa, the pageant and such. With mixed opinions from everybody yet a general consensus that two weeks into my year, we have already been breaking down barriers and challenging mindsets and building a bridge. Let me explain why I say so…

Im sure by now you have all either read, or heard of the article in the Times regarding the nude shoots I did a while back. Well I tell you the response from that was astounding! I was so surprised at the diversity of the opinions. It made me realise just once again how incredible it is to live in SA. In my interview I did on Radio 702/ 567 Cape Talk (which btw was heard even in GREECE), I said that we had not come this far in SA for only one opinion to count. That is exactly what we have fought against in this country! As long as it is an opinion, and not something forced onto others, right. It seems like so far we have challenge mindsets, and got people thinking and talking about issues which are important to them, and let me tell you EVERY OPINION COUNTS, no matter what it is. But I am happy to say that most of the response has been positive, and also form both the gay and straight communities-there's that bridge! I really like to hear what you guys and girls have to say regarding things which are important to you! This is why I am here!

As my heading says, it’s been a challenge to get used to a new sense of ‘normality’. Seeing my face in publications such as the Pink Tongue, the People Magazine (nogal!), on websites and blogs etc, is rather weird! More so is getting used to being called ‘Mr Gay South Africa’ whenever people announce you to a crowd! For a split second I kind of look around wondering ‘mmm.,.who is it, who is it!’ only to hear my name! lol. But to me, im still me. Im still the Charl that my friends have known for so long. I’m still the Charl that serves you coffee in the morning at CafĂ© Manhattan! I’m till the same Charl, but with a greater responsibility to the community which he serves.

Also, some exciting news is that we launched Cape Town Pride this week at the lovely Adam and Eve lounge! I tell you its going to be a blast. With such a dedicated team of volunteers working on it, how can it not be! As much as it’s about celebration and parties, it’s also about creating social conscience within the greater community of Cape Town. I am Gay, and I am Proud of it! It is opportunities like these which set us apart form other countries in Africa where being gay can get you killed! (thinking of Uganda-even though that bill is not passed, the threat is still there). As someone said the other day, we in South Africa form the minority in Africa concerning human rights. We should be proud of being South Africans, and being FREELY GAY in it! This is how social consciousness is created, and this is how we change the world!

So what’s happening in the following week?

Well it remains to be seen I guess. I do know that I will be interviewed by a French journalist on Tuesday, so who knows where that will be published!!! Also ill be working on a small charity benefit and hope to have it sorted by the end of this week! Will keep you all posted!


But for now, I say cheers.
Have an awesome week folks! Catch you later!

Charl

MY FIRST WEEK AS MR GAY SOUTH AFRICA

Hey there all you people!!!


It’s been a week since the crowning of Mr Gay South Africa, and I must say, it has been a pretty hectic week!!! I would have liked to send out this letter sooner but I have been kept busy from the word go with trying to fall back into the swing of things in Cape Town, and also to get used to my ‘new sense of normality’. This is the first time I have actually had time to really sit down and think about the past few weeks and months. WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!!
From the time we set our feet in Durban, all still pretty much ‘strangers’ to each other, but it took a nice meal and some socializing at @L’s in Ramsgate to quickly stir up a sense of brotherhood among us, thanks to Jaco and his crew over there! You guys ROCK!!! And Bennie, what a breath taking place you have…thanks for putting us up for the night! I think the only bad thing was having to wake up at 5am in the morning to make the trip back to Durban to board the Sinfonia-lol. There was definitely a sense of excitement despite the puffy eyes and yawns along the way and as we made our way to Durban I found myself thinking about just what we were about to embark on and I knew that this was going to be something special.
For four days we were pressed, and pushed beyond what most of us though we were capable of with a great choreographer Gerrit, and his assistant Jarrod, who took us through each step of the way with a stern hand, yet always with the utmost respect. Gerrit, I can still hear your words…..5 6 7 8 and 1 2 3…..! I love you man!!!! We had a great team looking after us and Peter (or mammie as he became known) it is not easy keeping 15 guys in line and at every venue when they needed to be…so BIG praise to you!!!! I look forward to working with you guys again!!!

So suffice to say, after a week of rehearsals and photo shoots (Duy and Nico……what an incredible team you make…thanks for making us all look awesome despite the bags and tiredness which often was rather obvious-lol!) we finally disembarked and headed off to the Airport. We arrived in Jozi and went straight from OR Thambo to the State Theatre to start rehearsals on the REAL stage. There we were met with the other members of the production, Anne Williams, Dame Judy Page, Jason Greer our stage manager Vanessa, and of course our Director of Operations, Juan Lerm, to name but a few! After another LONG day of rehearsals we finally got home at 23:00 and needless to say we all made a bee-line for our rooms and hopped into bed to catch up on some much needed sleep. The next morning was all systems go again and we got to the State Theatre at 9am! After we all had a go at getting an instant Caribbean tan, we were ready for dress rehearsals….well at least those who were not still sticky from the spray-on tan…lol…

The evening was something I will never forget. From the very first moment we made our appearance on stage to the end I had goose bumps (Jan, I know you know what I mean!) and I could not help BUT smile from ear to ear at the incredible turnout of over 1000 people! With compliments still going around at how incredible the show was, I can not help but feel honoured to say that I was apart of it!
Once again, what a great team to have been privileged, to work with. We ALL made it happen, and we all became a family, standing for one purpose.

Thank you to all the sponsors, the behind the scenes people (you truly were the backbone of the operation) the in front of the scenes people, the designers, choreographers, entertainers, and everybody who had a role in making this projects such a great success! THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN!

So what now?

Well, the work only begins now! The glitz and glam are over and its time to get busy! With a few projects in mind, ill try and keep you all updated about what will be happening this year, where ill be and when ill be there!

So for now, I wish you all well and see you around!

Charl

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