Openly Gay Syrian Refugee Living In Oakland To Make Historic Appearance At UN

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A gay man who fled from war-ravaged Syria to the Bay Area is about to become the first openly LGBT person ever to address the United Nations Security Council.

Subhi Nahas once faced the treat of death after coming out to his parents in his small town in Syria. They were not supportive and things only got worse when the Syrian Civil War began. Islamic militants seized control of his town and announced plans to cleanse the city of all LGBT people.

“They said they will cleanse the city…so just, that’s it, I just cannot stay,” recalled Nahas.

Nahas fled to Lebanon and later Turkey. After three years, he made it to Oakland two months ago with the help of ORAM International, a San Francisco-based human rights organization that helps gay refugees. On August 24th, the UN Security Council will hold its first session ever on LGBT issues, and Nahas has been chosen to be the first openly gay person to address the council.

“At the beginning you just feel nervous, but more you think about it you just feel empowered,” he said of the chance to speak.

Nahas will discuss his personal journey, and plead for the UN to save others left behind, persecuted, imprisoned and even killed because of who they are.

Nahas says he won’t lecture the UN, notoriously slow to acknowledge gay rights. Instead, he says he will simply tell his story.

“I’m going to put a face to that struggle,” he said. “Now maybe somebody will stop the persecution of LGBT people.”

More from Doug Sovern
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