Francisco José Alvarado has experienced a rollercoaster of emotions within the past few months.
According to MetroWeekly, the 30-year-old doctor from Spain contracted the coronavirus back in March. As he told Spanish media outlet Redacción Médica, he started to notice the symptoms around March 10.
“I began to notice them while on duty at the hospital,” Alvarado said, according to a translation provided by Queerty. “It started with a dry cough, but we were in a moment of collective chaos, so I didn’t pay much attention to it.”
Alvarado then experienced fatigue and muscle aches but thought nothing of it due to his tough working environment.
“It was hard to tell if that usual tiredness was from work or the symptoms,” he explained.
Unfortunately, the tiredness that Alvarado was experiencing wasn’t the normal work fatigue. The doctor then tested positive for the coronavirus on March 12. He then spent 19 days in his apartment on quarantine. Though, he says 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.”
After testing negative on March 31, Alvarado returned to work. Just a few days later, he received the next big shock of his life. On April 3, Alvarado received word that he would be given the title of Mr. Gay World.
“I was at the health center when they told me,” he said before calling the news an “injection of fresh air in the circumstances we’re living.”
But why was Alvarado given the title? Well, April marked the one year anniversary of when 2019’s winner Janjep Carlos from the Philippines won the title. As such, it was time to announce a new titleholder. But this year’s competition was pushed back to 2021. Despite that, the organization behind the international Mr. Gay World competition decided to name Alvarado, the runner-up of last year’s competition, as this year’s global ambassador for LGBTQ rights.
“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 also thanked Carlos for his efforts and noted 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.”
In regards to what projects he might push as Mr. Gay World, Francisco José Alvarado noted that he hopes to raise a spotlight on discrimination in health care.
“[Thirty] years ago, the World Health Organization [delisted] homosexuality [as a] mental illness,” he elaborated. “Today, in 2020, there is still talk of conversion therapies to cure homosexuality.”
He also noted the need to address health care professionals who “are not able to set aside their moral judgments” when treating LGBTQ patients.
Congratulations to Francisco José Alvarado.