Indonesia’s most progressive island crowned its LGBTI kings and queens behind closed doors last month.
The island’s Muslim council banned the event from taking place last year, citing ‘rejection from the Balinese community’.
But, local organization Yayasan Gaya Dewata crowned its Mr and Miss in secret. They asked finalists, judges, and guests to keep the event at a hotel secret.
No one uploaded photos of the event until the end of last month.
Ahead of elections this year, Muslim leaders across the country have been ramping up their anti-gay rhetoric.
People regard Hindu-majority Bali as the most tolerant part of Indonesia towards LGBTI people. It is also a popular LGBTI tourist destination.
Yayasan Gaya Dewata organizers Mister and Miss Gaya Dewata pageant is organized. Bali’s leading LGBTI organization was founded in 1992.
‘We said that we canceled the event, whereas in fact we merely postponed it to stop the terror,” Arya, a committee member, told the Jakarta Post.
What’s more, contestants from across the country flew in for the discreet ceremony.
‘We wanted to push back, but we know we are just a minority. We took one step back for the greater good of our community,’ transgender finalist Alena Perez told the Jakarta Post.
So far there have been no repercussions, the paper also reported.