Adil Doukali (pictured above), the 32 year old Moroccan man who won the Mr. Bear Spain 2007 sash last summer - and then drew heated criticism for comments he made about his sexual orientation during a nationally televised gossip show - has sent me a link to a new interview he did with a Spanish gay magazine called MOXOW.
Although I can't find a direct online link to the interview, a .pdf version of the magazine can be downloaded here (the interview is featured on page 9 of the magazine).
Here's my translation of the interview from the original Spanish:
MOXOW: Why did you decide to present yourself at [Spain's] 2007 Bear Fest?
Adil Doukali: Simply because I'm a Bear. I have a beard, I'm hairy, handsome, I had what the contest required. In my opinion the Mr. Bear contest is, before anything, a "beauty" contest, which is to say that people are judged on aesthetic terms. I match the Bear aesthetic.
M: You were named Mr. Bear 2007 last summer and you went on with a normal life until you appeared in an Antena3 show. Why did you want to appear on television?
AD: I thought it would be interesting to show that a Muslim Moroccan man could be gay. I also thought we would talk about the bear world.
M: Nevertheless things became complicated.
AD: The show's hosts stopped asking about this subject and went directly to the topic of religion. If you ask me what the Koran [says] about homosexuality I will say the same thing that I told them, that it's a sin. It was very harsh [for me] when they showed a segment taped outside a mosque and asked my countrymen about me, showing them photos of me in underwear which had been published in Hot Bear magazine - to be naked in public is a sin in the Muslim religion.
M: What we didn't understand was your desire to return to a good path by marrying a woman. Can you explain?
AD: I am bisexual and it's true that one day I may want to marry a woman. It's a possibility. What happens is that if you ask me who I am, I would tell you that I am gay. Because in Marroqui culture - and also in mine - to be gay or bi, is the same thing because in either case you sleep with men. People did not understand that a boy who says he is gay [can also] declare that he wants to marry a woman. For me bi and gay is the same thing. There were people and journalists who said that I regreted being gay and this I never said, nor is it the truth.
M: What was your reaction to everything that happened [after] that show?
AD: It hurt me that people didn't try to get in touch with me before printing that information. It surprised me that a lot of gays [reproached] me and did not want to accept that a bisexual could be Mr. Bear.
M: That is something that is still not clear to us. A bisexual can participate in the Mr. Bear contest?
AD: I wasn't told anything before participating nor was I asked anything. After the show on Antena3 I remained with the organizers of the contest. The only thing I was told was that it would have been better if I hadn't said that I was bi. But they didn't give me trouble nor was I stripped of my title as many have said.
M: Do you regret appearing on that show?
AD: No, even if things got pretty bad afterwards. The news even came out in Morocco where my whole family lives. My mother and my sister had a rough time. They wouldn't leave the house for fear of people. There were rumors that I would be killed. I have friends there who used to say I was a very good person who now say I am a woman.
M: At the very least in Spain things are better?
AD: A lot of hetero people recognize me in the streets. And that's what I wanted, that the Bear [lifestyle] reach heterosexual people. Nevertheless a lot of people have not understood me, I have work colleagues that don't greet me [Doukali works as a home painter], don't talk to me or throw insults at me. Even the old Mr. Bear 2006 took it up against me in a Barcelona magazine, calling me false and telling lies about me.
M: We hope you're not also angry with us.
AD: Nah, you are the only ones who have agreed to interview me to know what really took place. I get angry if I'm not given the possibility to tell the truth and respond. You have listened to me and that's why I respect you.
M: Well, thanks, and to finish the interview: Do you know if you are heading to San Francisco for the selection of Mr. International Bear?
AD: Well, at the moment I don't know a thing. The contest takes place in February and to date nobody has gotten in touch with me. If they ask me to go, I'll go.
The annual International Bear Rendezvous ends today in San Francisco and the International Bear competition took place last night. No word on whether Adil made it to the event or won any new titles.
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