Omar Sharif Jr. is no stranger to advocacy. After coming out in 2012, Sharif became an outspoken activist for the LGBTQ community, but not without a cost. The grandson of the legendary actor Omar Sharif revealed in his memoir, A Tale of Two Omars: A Memoir of Family, Revolution, and Coming Out During the Arab Spring, not only as gay but half Jewish. Sharif detailed the consequences of his revelations in his memoir:
“During a time of great upheaval, I’d cast a spotlight- one that I’d avoided for so long- on all of us. I hadn’t made myself a target; I’d made my entire family a target. No one knew if they were going to come after us- no one even knew who they were- but I’d given them a reason to.”
Sharif Jr. also revealed his conversation with his father shortly after his coming out essay was published on the internet, in which the elder Sharif warned his son not only could he not back to Egypt, where his father lived, but he also gave up his right to inherit due to the fact that only Muslims can inherit from other Muslims.
Yet his coming out as gay created a huge opportunity for Sharif Jr., to become the national spokesman for GLAAD. With a platform, Sharif Jr. became more recognizable, especially among gay Egyptians who turned to him after their country started an anti-gay crackdown.
Ten years after coming out, Sharif Jr. continues his advocacy in his new role as the new chief advancement officer at Holocaust Museum LA. Sharif Jr. will lead the development and communications strategy for the museum, according to a press release from Holocaust Museum LA.
The museum’s CEO Beth Kean said regarding Sharif Jr.:
“Omar’s mix of professional experience in media and entertainment, advocacy and global philanthropy—combined with his personal experience as the grandson of Holocaust survivors and as an activist and champion for LGBTQ rights and social justice—make him uniquely qualified for this chief advancement officer role.”
In an interview with The Wrap, Sharif Jr. recalls advice his grandparents, Omar Sharif and Egyptian actress Faten Hamamah gave him:
“They [both] said always make sure that you have a cause or something that you’re passionate about to champion. And so that’s sort of always been embedded in who I am.”