Coming Out Story: We're Not in Cairo Anymore



OMAR SHARIF JR MAIN X390 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.