Abdulrahman Akkad (Arabic: عبدالرحمن عقاد) born in Aleppo on May 17, 1998, is a gay blogger and human rights activist. Akkad, who now lives in Berlin, also used to be a member of the Atheist Refugee Relief organization in Germany.
Early life and education
Akkad was born in 1998 to a religiously conservative Muslim family in Syria. In 2013, Akkad had to leave Syria with his family, escaping from the Syrian Civil War, heading to Turkey and staying there until December 2015, when he decided to seek refuge in Germany.
Akkad has only finished his intermediate education. In 2010, Akkad graduated from Dhat Al-Sawari Primary with a primary degree, and after 3 years in 2013, just before leaving Syria, Akkad graduated from Abdulwahab Al-Shawaf Junior High with a middle school diploma. However, Akkad was unable to further continue his education after leaving Syria.
On July 24, 2017, Akkad streamed a live video on Facebook, coming out as gay after fearing that his family would have had forced him to marry a woman against his will. The video was shared on various Arab social channels, as it was the first ever occurrence of a gay Syrian man publicly expressing his sexual orientation in a video with his real name and face.
In July 2020, Akkad shared a picture of him with his family, officially announcing their acceptance of his sexual orientation and that they love him unconditionally, also declaring victory over customs, traditions and society This photo is also considered to be the first of its kind with an Arab family publicly accepting their gay son's sexual orientation.
Akkad identifies as secular, supporting the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. And as a former member of the Atheist Refugee Relief organization, Akkad aided many atheist Middle Eastern refugees in Germany. Akkad and his family have also been strong opposers of the Syrian regime, especially after Akkad's sister-in-law was shot and killed by a regime sniper in 2012, leading his brother to dissent from the army, and forcing his entire family to flee the country after severe pressure imposed by al-Assad's authorities.
There has been a long history of oppression and discrimination against the LGBT community in the Arab World through censorship, hate speech, and government-coordinated persecution. Akkad's story has been met with some supportive, but mostly homophobic responses through media coverage and public discourse. Akkad even started receiving death threats after coming out.
- Runfunk, Bayerischer. "How to Coming-Out - diese Tipps können euch beim Coming-Out helfen - Willkommen im Club - der LGBTIQ*-Podcast von PULS" (in de). https://www.br.de/mediathek/podcast/willkommen-im-club-der-lgbtiq-podcast-von-puls/how-to-coming-out-diese-tipps-koennen-euch-beim-coming-out-helfen/1818917.
- "شاهد| عبد الرحمن عقاد سوري مثلي جنسيًا يعلن انتصاره بتقبل أهله له.. تعرف عليه" (in ar). 2020-07-25. https://stepagency-sy.net/2020/07/25/%d8%b9%d8%a8%d8%af-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b1%d8%ad%d9%85%d9%86-%d8%b9%d9%82%d8%a7%d8%af-%d8%b3%d9%88%d8%b1%d9%8a-%d9%85%d8%ab%d9%84%d9%8a-%d8%ac%d9%86%d8%b3%d9%8a%d9%8b%d8%a7/.
- "الحبّ انتصر!... شاب سوري مثليّ الجنس يُعلن تصالح والديه معه". 2020-07-27. https://raseef22.com/article/1079190-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A-%D9%85%D8%AB%D9%84%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%B3-%D9%8A%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%B9%D9%87.