Omar Sharif Jr: My grandfather didn’t care that I’m gay
The grandson of famed Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, has said the famous actor never had an issue with his sexuality.
Omar Sharif Jr, who recently came out as gay, said he never spoke about his sexuality with his grandfather, but that he knew he was gay and nothing changed.
“Before anything, in the eyes of my grandparents, I was a grandson,” he told Deutsche Welle Arabic.
“It was never a topic of conversation in our relationship. It never changed. We never spoke about it and to them, I was still just Omar.”
Sharif, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, passed away earlier this month, aged 83.
Host Jaafar Abdul Karim asked Sharif Jr what he thought when people suggested he was tarnishing his grandfather’s image through living openly.
He responded: “I think the best thing that I could do in life is to live openly and authentically and happily, and if I’m doing that, I know I’m making them happy because that’s all they would want for me. They would want me to be happy. That’s what grandparents should want for their grandchildren.”
Going on to speak of his work with GLAAD, Sharif Jr said he hoped his story would show people in Egypt, where being gay is not generally accepted, that he is still just a person.
He said: “I’m a son, I’m a brother, I’m a coworker, I’m a friend. I’m not a fact, or a figure, or a statistic. I’m not a moral or an ethical debate.”
“If I could give one [lesson], is to be open enough to be who you are. Don’t pay attention to the conversation happening around you. Pay attention to the conversation happening in your heart and in your head because that’s the only thing you can control,” he continued.
In the interview, Sharif Jr said he hoped to honour his grandfather.