Coming Out Story: We're Not in Cairo Anymore. "I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay" - Omar Sharif Jr.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 12:44 PM GMT
    Coming Out Story: We're Not in Cairo Anymore
    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.


    http://www.advocate.com/printArticle.aspx?id=249433
    By Omar Sharif Jr.

    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.

    Last January, I left Egypt with a heavy heart. I traveled to America, leaving behind my family, friends, and compatriots who were in the midst of embarking on a heroic journey toward self-determination. Despite the sound of gunshots in the streets and the images of Anderson Cooper being struck repeatedly over the head on CNN, I left hopeful that I would return to find a more tolerant and equal society. While I benefited from a life of privilege being Omar Sharif's grandson, it was always coupled with the onerous guilt that such a position might have been founded upon others' sweat and tears.

    One year since the start of the revolution, I am not as hopeful.

    The troubling results of the recent parliamentary elections dealt secularists a particularly devastating blow. 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. The full spectrum of equal and human rights are now wedge issues used by both the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Islamist parties, when they should be regarded as universal truths.

    I write this article despite the inherent risks associated because as we stand idle at what we hoped would be the pinnacle of Egyptian modern history, I worry that a fall from the top could be the most devastating. I write, with healthy respect for the dangers that may come, for fear that Egypt's Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward.

    And so I hesitantly confess: I am Egyptian, I am half Jewish, and I am gay.

    That my mother is Jewish is no small disclosure when you are from Egypt, no matter the year. And being openly gay has always meant asking for trouble, but perhaps especially during this time of political and social upheaval. 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?

    While to many in Europe and North America mine might seem like trivial admissions, I am afraid this is not so in Egypt. I anticipate that I will be chastised, scorned, and most certainly threatened. From the vaunted class of Egyptian actor and personality, I might just become an Egyptian public enemy.

    And yet I speak out because I am a patriot.

    I am a patriot who remembers a pluralistic Egypt, where despite a lack of choice in the political sphere, society comprised a multitude of beliefs and backgrounds. I remember growing up knowing gay men and women who were quietly accepted by those around them in everyday society. The motto was simple: "Stay quiet, stay safe." Today, too many are staying quiet as the whole of Egyptian society moves toward this monolithic entity I barely recognize.

    Last month I went for an afternoon run outside my home in Cairo. It was hot, and so I removed my T-shirt. I got the strange sense someone was watching. I felt a car begin to slow behind me, and a man began to shout that I could no longer go out in the streets shirtless in the new Egypt. With reticence, I put my T-shirt on and continued to run.

    Today, I write.

    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.

    I write this article to understand my own position in the new Egyptian paradigm. To a greater degree, though, I want to know where my newborn sister fits, my Coptic Christian friends, and the entire list of those who seek a basic guarantee of rights affirmed just to know they can live safely in Egypt. I want to know that we are not sliding downward on a slippery slope from secular(ish) society toward Islamic fundamentalist state.

    I challenge foreign governments and NGOs present in Egypt today to comment and demand answers on equal and human rights from both the leaders of the revolution and the new government. I urge them to lend the Egyptian people and any future governments the support necessary to protect those at risk and strengthen our laws so that an admission like mine is not a sentence to prison, physical harm, or worse. Lend guidance in formulating a new constitution that protects the lives and liberty of all citizens, reminding them that while I know all too well that Egypt is not ready to adopt or accept equal rights for gays, it should nonetheless be included in the discussion. We learn from the entrenchment of constitutional principles in long-established Western democracies that if a group is excluded from the outset, it could be centuries before the issue is revisited.

    I write this article as an open letter to my fellow Egyptian people, mailed from many miles away, commending them on how far they have come in how short a time. We must continue to run toward, not away from, the ideals that started us down this extraordinary path. After all of this, if we pursue a national agenda that does not respect basic human rights, we are no better than the architects of tyranny, contempt, and oppression toppled throughout the Arab Spring.

    I want to have a place in the new Egypt.

    I write asking for my inclusion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 2:11 PM GMT
    Damn Joos.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 2:18 PM GMT
    He's really hot too icon_wink.gif

    gty_omar_sharif_jr_jt_120318_wmain.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 2:25 PM GMT
    He's a joo. Of course he's hot!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 3:22 PM GMT
    half-jewish? His mothers Jewish,, so doesn't that make him Jewish by default.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 3:31 PM GMT
    beneful1 saidhalf-jewish? His mothers Jewish,, so doesn't that make him Jewish by default.

    Yes, by Jewish tradition.
    However, by Arab tradition, if the father is Arab... so is the child.
    So either he's two people, one Arab and one Jewish, or he's half of each. (:
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 4:10 PM GMT
    Thx for posting. Very interesting article. I have often wondered how Egypt's future will play out. Let's hope for the best.
  • XiongWei

    Posts: 89

    Mar 19, 2012 4:17 PM GMT
    Just want to say thanks for posting that. I know it's been said before, but it works as a handy bump as well.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 4:47 PM GMT
    LOL. Please excuse AyaTrollah pouncer.
    Once Jews are mentioned, he goes crazy.
    He is best ignored.
    (Opps, how did he see this thread if, as he repeatedly claims, he has me on "ignore"?!)

    But there is one lie I want to address:

    propaganda pouncer> oak or pine - not a Middle Eastern genus in sight

    Oak trees are native to Israel.
    They're even mentioned in the Bible.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr217/psw_gtr217_293.pdf
    California and Israel are both characterized by Mediterranean climates, and the native oaks growing in these two locales occupy similar ecological niches. However, in California certain oak species are having difficulty regenerating adequately, while in Israel this is not a problem. From 2004 to 2006, a series of greenhouse studies were conducted in both Israel and California to sort out the role of evolutionary history in influencing species regeneration rates and strategies.

    ...two Israeli oak species (Q. ithaburensis and Q. calliprinos) were planted in a common garden

    So there you even have the "genus".

    You also now know the real reason the spam propaganda troll pretends to ignore me - because he can't address such points of substance (so he sticks his head in the sand).

    Now back to the topic: Omar Sharif Jr and Egypt.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 4:49 PM GMT
    ::sigh:: my crush on this man has only deepened now...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 19, 2012 6:27 PM GMT
    I love the term half Jewish, I was tort long ago by Jewish women, either you are Jewish, or you are not, thus no halves. So if mummy is not Jewish, neither is her children. But....... he is a good looking young Egyptian man.
  • Import

    Posts: 7185

    Mar 20, 2012 3:43 PM GMT
    logically speaking, he's only half jew genetically, even if jewish tradition says otherwise.... his mother was jewish...his father wasn't... he cant be fully jewish even tho his motheris jewish.... That's just jews trying to claim more people in their flock....

    and anyway, im happy that he's in the US now...safe and sound, but..so what? he's gay? big deal...another gay dude comes out. Waaaaah and im half jewish too!!

    so what!!!!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 3:56 PM GMT
    I'm persecuted, but I had time to get my teeth bleached.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 4:05 PM GMT
    njmeanwhile saidI'm persecuted, but I had time to get my teeth bleached.


    He's a rich actor...and WILL be persecuted for this.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 4:14 PM GMT
    Import saidlogically speaking, he's only half jew genetically, even if jewish tradition says otherwise.... his mother was jewish...his father wasn't... he cant be fully jewish even tho his motheris jewish.... That's just jews trying to claim more people in their flock....

    No, just Jews realizing that you don't always know who the father is, especially during bad times (raping & pillaging) so it made sense - for purposes of jus sanguinis - to look at the mother rather than the father.

    If you think about it logically, it doesn't help increase the "flock" given cases where a Jewish man marries a non-Jew. In fact, since men can have more children than women (especially in polygamous times and when women frequently died at child-birth), this would be counter-productive were the purpose to increase the flock.

    Consider further that while he may only be "half jew genetically", historically he'd marry another Jew and their children, genetically, would be 75% Jewish. Within a few generations descendants would be 88%, 94% and 97% "genetically Jewish". But, really, it's not about racial "purity", right?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 4:21 PM GMT
    njmeanwhile saidI'm persecuted, but I had time to get my teeth bleached.

    I think he's not so much claiming that he is personally persecuted as much as are his brothers and sisters back in Egypt:

    Omar Sharif Jr.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.

    Good for him - we need more people like him.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 4:33 PM GMT
    TrueBlueAussie saidI love the term half Jewish, I was tort long ago by Jewish women, either you are Jewish, or you are not, thus no halves. So if mummy is not Jewish, neither is her children. But....... he is a good looking young Egyptian man.


    Already been explained. Read below


    Wolverine4 said
    beneful1 saidhalf-jewish? His mothers Jewish,, so doesn't that make him Jewish by default.

    Yes, by Jewish tradition.
    However, by Arab tradition, if the father is Arab... so is the child.
    So either he's two people, one Arab and one Jewish, or he's half of each. (:
  • Import

    Posts: 7185

    Mar 20, 2012 4:40 PM GMT
    he's a gay jew muslim!!!! the horror!!!!

    is he republican too? omg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 6:52 PM GMT
    AyaTrollah pouncer> In which case let citizenship settle it - he's 100% Egyptian (an Arab country).

    Why is it so important for propaganda poucer to deny Omar Sharif Jr.'s Jewish component?
    Oh, that's right, because this vile Anti-Semite hates everything Jewish.
    (Not just the Jewish state, but the history, language, culture, etc.)

    pp is never one to be bothered with facts, though.
    Omar Sharif Jr. is Canadian, too.


    Omar Sharif Jr.> for fear that Egypt's Arab Spring may be moving us backward, not forward.

    Again, good for him. Unlike AyaTrollah pouncer, Omar Sharif Jr. is measurinng success based on human rights - not on Egypt's anti-Israel policy and how often a gas pipeline is blown up.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 20, 2012 7:05 PM GMT
    Epic!

    Brave!

    Hot!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2012 4:05 AM GMT
    I'm sure a lot of young guys don't even know who Omar Sharif is, so here's a reminder:

    Like Sean Connery, fine then, fine now:
    2j9ouo.jpg

    Bonus visual reference for the gay young guys who don't know who he is:
    5lnx2f.jpg

    Not sure if the progeny of Omar Sharif Sr. and Barbra Streisand would've turned out like Omar Sharif Jr.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2012 4:15 AM GMT
    Boris saidHe's really hot too icon_wink.gif

    gty_omar_sharif_jr_jt_120318_wmain.jpg


    yes very HOT! icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2012 4:20 AM GMT
    Iran use to be very accepting during the shah, but look whats happened to it now....

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2012 5:53 AM GMT
    There's a really cool (and hot) guy I work with who's black and Jewish. I always fuck with him and call him the "black gay Jew" because it just sounds cool. Of course, I'm his white bitch. icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 21, 2012 8:12 AM GMT
    There he goes again.

    The pathological AyaTrollah pouncer just can't help himself.
    He has no interest in the topic's thread.
    Not regarding human rights in the new Egypt.
    Or even the superficial chatter about a hot gay guy.

    The word "Jew" came up and he's off on his hatist-racist anti-Israel propaganda crusade.
    As if there weren't sufficient forums where the Arab-Israeli conflict is discussed.

    See, for example:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/349491

    or

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/354843


    We now return, hopefully, to Omar Sharif Jr!