Firstly I believe it is important to note that Mr. Gay New Zealand as a competition will continue to fully support and stand with Charlie Tredway, not only as our 2017 Mr. Gay New Zealand winner, but also and most importantly as a role model and advocate for the community and HIV stigma and awareness.
I am glad to see so much support from our community towards Mr Tredway, with many people highlighting the facts around HIV and HIV transmission as opposed to ill-informed and stigma based opinions.
Unfortunately people who are living with HIV continue to face stigma and discrimination in New Zealand, something Mr Tredway has been campaigning about for years, and continues to see in the media, on social media and in person on a daily basis.
What Mr Tredway does in the privacy of is own home, is not an issue, and ironically any discussion around Mr Tredways private life highlights and re-inforces how as a community we need to continue to fight HIV-related stigma, and raise awareness of the damaging and hurtful attitudes of a vocal minority that need to change.
I am proud that Mr Tredway is able to represent all of us at Mr. Gay World 2017, and I am prouder that Mr Tredway will continue to give people living with HIV a voice and fight the injustices that members of our community face every single day of their lives.
Kia Kaha Charlie.
Producer of Mr. Gay New Zealand & Mr. Gay New Zealand 2015