Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Omar Sharif Jr. comes out as gay and half-Jewish


Egyptian multihyphenate Omar Sharif Jr., grandson of the screen legend, comes out both as gay and half Jewish — and worries that his country's fledgling government will persecute others like him.

Sharif Jr. who lived in Egypt until January 2011, just before the revolution, says he also fears for his family following the success of Islamic parties in recent elections.

He writes in the Advocate:
"I write this article in fear. Fear for my country, fear for my family, and fear for myself. My parents will be shocked to read it, surely preferring I stay in the shadows and keep silent, at least for the time being. But I can’t."
Sharif expressed his disappointment at Egypt's recent parliamentary elections - which saw victories for several Islamic parties - saying he was now less hopeful that the revolution would lead to a more tolerant and open society.

He added:
"The vision for a freer, more equal Egypt — a vision that many young patriots gave their lives to see realized in Tahrir Square — has been hijacked. With the victories of several Islamist parties in recent elections, a conversation needs to be had and certain questions need to be raised.

I ask myself: Am I welcome in the new Egypt? Will being Egyptian, half Jewish, and gay forever remain mutually exclusive identities? Are they identities to be hidden?

I write... for fear that Egypt’s Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward."

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