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Omar Sharif’s Grandson Comes Out

Omar Sharif’s Grandson Comes Out


The grandson of Egyptian actor Omar Sharif has come out as gay and half Jewish in a piece for the Advocate in which he expresses his fears over where Egypt’s precarious political situation might lead in terms of human rights.

The piece, titled “We’re Not in Cairo Anymore” and published in the April print edition of the Advocate, sees Omar Sharif Jr. declare “I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay.”

What prompted this “hesitant” declaration? Sharif cites a growing fear over the direction his country is headed in, saying “Fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself.”

He writes:

I write this article because there are many back home without a voice, without a face, and without an outlet. I write this article because I am not unique in Egypt and because many will suffer if a basic respect for fundamental human rights and equality is not embraced by Egypt’s new government. I write this article because as an Egyptian national newly acquainted with a land of freedom, I feel a certain privilege that I can finally express myself openly as well as artistically. I have a voice, and with it comes a responsibility to share it during this time of social and political change, no matter the risks.

I write this article as a litmus test, calling for a reaction. I challenge each of the parties elected to parliament to speak out, on the record, as to where they stand on respect for the rights of all Egyptians, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or political belief. Do religious parties speak of moderation now only to consolidate power? Show us that your true intent is not to gradually eradicate the few civil liberties and safeguards that we currently have protected by convention, if not constitution.

Sharif goes on to call on foreign governments and NGOs present in Egypt to help ensure that the new Egyptian government is held to account over its commitment to human rights, asking that the rights of gay citizens be included from the outset when it comes to talks on constitutional protections.

Sharif also praises the Egyptian people for what he sees as their progress towards throwing off the shackles of former repression and he asks that they continue to push for yet more progress.

He ends plaintively: “I want to have a place in the new Egypt. I write asking for my inclusion.”

Sharif left Egypt in January 2011. He joins a host of other voices who remain concerned about whether the uprisings will ultimately bring about a freer Egypt or see corruption and another oppressive regime step into the vacuum of power.

You can read the full article here.


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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks tosierragoddess.

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2:26PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012


12:42AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Good for him. It was a moving gesture.

1:49PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

how brave of him hope he is accepted

9:38AM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

Lyn said "There are people who seem to always question the importance of "coming out". That they didn't have to come out as hetereosexual so why do we/they."

+++++++++++++ Brava, Lyn! I'm "straight" but I know something about this. If you are "different," it can take many years before you have the courage and support to "come out." As a (nearly) life-long atheist, I know the nasty prejudice and snide remarks which we "odd" people must let go unanswered because we're "closeted." We sit by and watch others like us being the subject of jokes and some cases, torture, beatings or murder. Imagine the GREAT fear this young man would have, knowing homosexuals are routinely killed by "peaceful" Muslims?

Those of you who are "in the norm" will never know how liberating it can be to finally stand up and say to the world...."I AM DIFFERENT AND I'M PROUD TO BE ME!"

6:15AM PDT on Mar 22, 2012


3:22AM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

Young Mr. Sharif's grandfather must be justly proud.

9:27PM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

Such a brave stand considering that young Mr. Sharif doesn't have to do so as I am sure his famuily has the money and connections to keep him safe. Being Gay is being part of a minority from birth which suddenly becomes apparent and incredibly dangerous for the gay child once they hit puberty and the adults go nuts because their babies are growing into their full sexuality ESPECIALLY if the adolescent isn't heterosexual. Suddenly you are different and seen as a freak. You are now also a target for every sexually insecure person you come in contact with and in a society where the authorities have a tendency to look the other way when the victim is other than heterosexual, white and wealthy.

Until sexual orientation is no longer threatening, psychologically to the mainstream bully, and physically to the non-heterosexual, the social majority will need continual examples of how everyone has gay people in their lives and families that they must make a stand for against bigotry and ignorance!

8:45PM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

So in addition to my previous statement, HUZZAH and THANK YOU, Mr Sharif for being so bold!!!

8:43PM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

There are people who seem to always question the importance of "coming out". That they didn't have to come out as hetereosexual so why do we/they.

Until being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender is as "normal" as being straight, is the answer.
I have fojnd myself repeating things often in this regard. Until a non-straight couple can hold hands at their child's soccer game, or have their wedding photos on their desk like straight folk do, or fill in the blank of every "normal" couple or family activity can be safely done, shared, etc.

Having said all that kind of as a preface; the reason that it is sooo important to have celebrities, actors, sports figures, extremely well known or popular politicians and other public figures, and even royalty to "come out" is to help validate in the world's eye, so to speak, one's own place in it.

6:33PM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

Good for you, Mr. Sharif--we in America applaud you!!

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