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The New Arab Staff

Egypt actor's transgender son sued over Instagram post on LGBTQ+ activist's suicide

People gather at a memorial event for Sarah Hegazi in Amsterdam, Netherlands [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 June, 2020

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The transgender son of prominent Egyptian actor Hisham Selim was sued after posting an Instagram video in support of Sarah Hegazi, an exiled LGBTQ+ activist who died by suicide.

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Egypt, LGBTQ
The transgender son of prominent Egyptian actor Hisham Selim was sued over an Instagram video addressing the suicide of an exiled LGBTQ+ activist, according to a Wednesday report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Noor Selim, whose father Hisham made headlines after publicly accepting his son's gender identity, posted a video on Instagram in support of Sarah Hegazi, an Egyptian LGBTQ+ activist who died by suicide in Canada earlier this month.

According to the report, Selim's post prompted two Egyptian lawyers to file a lawsuit against him on Tuesday for "promoting homosexuality".

"It is a conspiracy against Egypt to give up on our culture and morals and let homosexuality spread among young people," Ayman Mahfouz, one of the two lawyers behind the lawsuit, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Selim, 26, posted a second video on Tuesday stating he was in poor mental health and that online criticism of Hegazi made him feel even lonelier, according to the report.

He has since removed the posts.

Hegazi was arrested in 2017 after flying a rainbow flag at a Mashrou' Leila concert in Cairo. She has spoken about being subjected to torture and sexual assault during her three month detention.

Upon her release, Hegazi said she has suffered from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She later fled Egypt and was granted asylum in Canada.

Hegazi died by suicide this month. She was 30 years old.

Her death prompted a wave of grief, solidarity and support worldwide. Hamed Sinno, Mashrou' Leila's gay frontman, has contributed to the outpouring tributes to Hegazi's memory.

Egypt does not explicitly criminalise sexual or gender identities, but has repeatedly persecuted its LGBTQ+ community under vague morality laws.

Egyptian authorities have used tactics widely condemned by human rights groups, such as arbitrary arrests, forced anal examinations and sting operations on gay dating applications.

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