As a young man in Egypt, Tarek was arrested and imprisoned for kissing another man. After that, no one would hire him because he was marked as a gay man. He eventually started a long distance relationship with someone in the United States and came on a tourist visa to visit. They soon broke up, but Tarek was able to apply for asylum and stay in the country. Being able to live in the United States, “means a lot, I finally embrace myself. I had a lot of fear and guilt in Egypt, and I was able to heal through the process of living here. I have slowly started to embrace myself and embrace my sexuality. I started to love myself and love who I am. I never in my life thought I’d do this, but I publicly came out two weeks ago on Facebook. I felt a peace of mind when I did it and a feeling of relief, of having a lot of people support me.” Tarek now lives in Brooklyn and does freelance architecture and costume design. He wants to be a famous costume designer and dreams of dressing Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.
Photo credit: Steven Laxton, stevenlaxton.com