ADDED ON: 08/20/2018

‘I Am Me Now’: Syrian Refugee to Lead Kelowna Pride March after Life of Secrecy

08/19/2018 | CBC

Anas Qartoumeh says he wants Canada to keep fighting for human rights abroad. The Grand Marshal of the 2018 Kelowna Pride March is proud to lead the parade, but more important, he’s just proud he can be himself. Anas Qartoumeh is a gay Syrian refugee who fled his country in 2015 to escape the civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. Qartoumeh also wanted to flee Syria’s ultra-conservative culture, which forced  him to keep his homosexuality a secret.  He now lives in Kelowna and for the first time, he told Daybreak South host Chris Walker, “I am me now.” “It’s a very different feeling. It took a long time for me to be out, gay,” Qartoumeh, 34, said.

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