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Omar Sharif Jr. Calls Out Trump at #AIDS2018

Omar Sharif Talks Coming Out & Trump At AIDS 2018

The actor/activist didn't hold back during the opening ceremony at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. 

Actor and activist Omar Sharif, Jr. opened the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam this week, as thousands attend the largest conference of any global health issue in the world. 

An ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Sharif also served as the emcee for the opening ceremony while introducing a series of HIV activists. He also took the opportunity to speak about Donald Trump and his proposed budget cuts, which would impact many HIV-positive people around the world. 

“I would love to hear what she had to say to the current Administration if [Elizabeth Taylor] was around today,” Sharif says. “We’re hearing a lot of current events and stats but, I mean, having the President ask Bill Gates twice the difference between HIV and HPV — that’s exhausting. But to be fair, I don’t know if the difficulty for him lies more in the science or the basic alphabet.” 

Sharif, the grandson of actors Omar Sharif and Faten Hamama, came out in a letter to The Advocate in 2012. After coming out, he faced a barrage of condemnation in his home country of Egypt. He has since served as a former National Spokesperson for GLAAD and is currently an Ambassador for the Human Rights Foundation.

“At the height of the Arab Spring, I became the first Arabic public figure to come out openly as gay and question the Egyptian government’s commitment to basic human rights and equality,” he spoke. “My announcement immediately went viral and I was met with widespread criticism, threats of violence, and death threats. I think a lot of people in this room know exactly how that feels. I left the country and I have not been home since. In my region of the world — the Middle East and north Africa — talking about LGBTQ issues, and certainly talking about HIV are incredibly risky. Just starting a conversation takes courage.”

Watch the opening ceremony below: 


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