Saturday, December 15, 2007

Update: Adil Doukali in his own words

Earlier in the week I contacted Adil Doukali, Mr. Bear Spain 2007, and asked him about comments he made on a Spanish gossip / talk show on Antena 3, one of Spain's largest television networks.

Though I haven't actually seen the interview, 20 Minutos reported on Dec. 8 that the Morocco-born man revealed he was bisexual and said "I hope to some day recover the good path, to have a woman and children" - comments that have drawn the ire of some in the gay community in Spain (see comments at this Spanish-language site) and glee from some conservative websites (including this one, also in Spanish).

20 Minutos also implied that Doukali lied to organizers of the Mr Bear Spain contest by representing himself as being "100% gay" and claimed that he was on the verge of turning his back on homosexuality (an eye-catching claim that probably sold more than a few papers) even as blogger GayMenGC provided better context).

In the e-mail message he sent me, Mr. Doukali denies he lied to the
Mr. Bear Spain 2007 organizers but stops short of addressing some of his most problematic comments (you can write to me directly if you want to receive the original Spanish language message - in the meantime here is my transtation):
Hello and good day, today I am afraid to say anything, today I live feeling terrorized, what has happened to me is very rough, I am a sincere and sensible guy, and when I participated in this contest it was to show the beauty my God gave me, showing favoritism to a hairy and bearded man that doesn't shave, and to show that there are men from Morocco who have an open mind.

In the contest there are no questions as to whether you are bisex or gay, the jury's questions were 'Why do you want to be Mr. Bear?' and about my Islamic culture, and whether I knew who the president of France was, and if I was willing to fight against homophobia.

The truth is that I am going through a bad moment. I thought that people would respect my ideas in the same way that I respect everybody else, at no time did I have the intention to offend anybody, neither gays nor Muslims, something that nowadays has placed my life and that of my family in an unbearable hell. I am sorry for this misunderstanding and I am sorry, my friend, because I cannot write any more because I am very depressed.
What strikes me about this whole thing is the the intersection between sexuality, religious dogma, negative views about immigrants in Spain (which are similar to those in the United States and particularly in this presidential race) and the rush to demonize anyone who does not conform to gay ideals. Yes, I am still struck by Mr. Doukali's choice of words when it comes to what the right or wrong path is for a man when it comes to his sexuality but I am also struck by his willingness to condemn - as a Muslim man - abuses against gay people in Islamic countries as well as the hypochrisy of other men who might sleep with men but never aknowledge it.

Furthermore, in one of his online profiles he proudly features a video that showcases his nomination as Mr. Bear Spain 2007 which seems to indicate he is more comfortable with his sexuality that others are giving him credit for. Part of his participation at the contest night itself is also available on YouTube (he is the last one featured in this clip):

I say give Mr. Doukali a chance and welcome him to San Francisco in February.

No comments: