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Wednesday 09 November 2016

Meet Mr Gay Wellington 2016: Adrian Renor

Posted in: Our Communities
By Sarah Murphy - 5th November 2016

Adrian Renor is the newly crowned Mr Gay Wellington for 2016, we chat to the circus and dance student about being the first ever transgender contestant to win a Mr Gay title in the country.

Mr Gay Wellington 2016 Adrian Renor
Entering the competition was an act of visibility, to show others that to be a man, you don’t need to have been born with a penis, Adrian says “I wanted to bring awareness to the fact that some men have vulvas”.

“I don't look like your conventional man, and I don't dress overly masculine for someone who's identity is so far from ‘woman'. I was given support from friends and I came to realise that even if I didn't win, standing on that stage was an act of defiance and pride, and I hope that helps someone.”

The newly elected InsideOUT Board Member says standing on stage as an openly trans man was “terrifying”.

“When I'm on stage, it's usually in a character, being me on stage, it scares me. But it was important to me, and the other contestants were lovely, so after the first round, it was just a lot of fun.”

Being crowned Mr Gay Wellington was a surreal experience for Adrian who says he didn't think it was real until about two days later.

“Now that it's hit me, I feel so proud and humble. I didn't expect to win, place maybe, but not win. I'm pleased and honoured to be proved wrong.”

Spending his early years in the rural areas of the Hutt, Adrian moved to Featherstone at the age of eight, eventually moving to Wellington while at University.

Adrian is currently studying a degree in Circus and Dance at Whitireia
“Living in rural New Zealand was hard, especially when I was the only out queer person at my high school for a while. Coming out was hard, but I'm glad I did it. I didn't come out as trans until I'd left high school though, and I don't regret that at all. Coming out as trans would have been the worst thing for me there.”

He says lack of public education is a major barrier faced by the trans community in New Zealand “The lack of education about trans people in New Zealand is appalling. I can't imagine where I'd be without the Internet, as gender identity isn't taught in high schools, which it really, really should be. Also online dating is awful as a trans person. You're either a fetish or thrown abuse. It's not for someone with thin skin.”

At nearly 22-years-old, Adrian has one more year before receiving his Bachelors Degree in Circus and Dance at Whitireia. Planning a career in circus, he says “I've got so many things I'd like to do, and it's just about working out what order to do them in”.

One thing he knows for sure though is that he hopes to fundraise enough money to undergo top surgery at the beginning of 2018.

Adrian is keen to use his new title in an educative capacity and says “I’d like to go and talk with some high schools like mine, and talk to them about being queer and how that's ok. I want to educate and tell them how you can still be successful while queer and where safe places and resources are.”

Sarah Murphy - 5th November 2016

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