Gay Syrian refugee who survived ISIS to be grand marshal of NYC Pride today

Joseph McCormick June 26, 2016
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A gay Syrian refugee who faced death threats from ISIS is to be one of the grand marshals for New York City Pride.

Subhi Nahas, 28, will march as grand marshal in New York for its Pride festivities today.

Last year, after escaping Syria, despite threats from ISIS and President Bashar al-Assad, Nahas addressed the United Nations.


Speaking to the New York Post, he said: “I was escaping for my life”.

Raised with six siblings in Idlib, which is now controlled by al Qaeda, he realised at a young age, around 8, that he had same-sex attraction.

“I just knew that I liked looking at boys, but I kept it to myself… You grow up pretending to be someone, but behind closed doors you’re completely someone else.”

He was later outed by a therapist, and was abused by his father, at one point having his chin into a kitchen cabinet during an argument.

Speaking of the danger of crowds who help to root out gay people in countries like Syria, he added: “The cold faces you see — the people helping to do this, cheering for killing gay people? I can’t imagine I was actually living among them.”

Nahas and another refugee identified as Adnan spoke at a historic meeting of the UN Security Council last year, which was the first of its kind to address LGBT issues.

Nahas addressed the meeting to say that those accused of homosexuality in his Syrian hometown of Idlib, were thrown from rooftops, and that crowds cheered, including children.

“In the Islamic State, gays are being tracked and killed all the time,” said Nahas.

He now works for a refugee organisation in the US.

“At the executions, hundreds of townspeople including children cheered jubilantly as at a wedding,” Nahas continued.

Two member states did not attend the UN Security Council meeting – Chad and Angola.

Others with questionable histories on LGBT issues were in attendance, including China, Russia, Nigeria and Malaysia, but none spoke during the meeting.

Later in the meeting Nahas said: “I was terrified to go out. Nor was my home safe, as my father, who suspiciously monitored my every move, had learned I was gay.

“I bear a scar on my chin as a token of his rage.”

He later said: “Death threats followed me to Turkey. A former school friend from Idlib named Khalil had joined Islamic State.

“He relayed through a mutual friend that he wanted to kill me, aiming to go to paradise. I was terrified.”

There has been a spate of killings out of killings by ISIS, of men accused of homosexuality.

Last year, a video, shot in Palmyra, showed two Syrian men be thrown off a building before being stoned to death.

The terrorist group, which operates predominantly across Syria and Iraq, is notorious for filming videos in which captives – usually Westerners or opposing fighters – are brutally slaughtered.

It has also taken to executing men it claims are gay, by throwing them off of tall buildings and pelting them with rocks in IS-produced videos.

Members of the terrorist group, which has published a number of graphic videos featuring the murder of supposed gay men, holds power across parts of Iraq, Syria and Libya.

More: new york pride, NYC, refugee, Syria

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