Run Or Die |

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Run Or Die

Al-Nusra were executing gay men in his town and ISIS were closing in, but did the greatest threat to gay Syrian, Subhi Nahas come from inside his own home? This is the harrowing story of his escape from certain death in Syria, and how he now helps save others from the brutality. Story by Andrew Creagh.

IMAGINE THAT ONE MORNING you get up and tell your family you’re going across the border into another country because you’ve been offered a job there. A taxi comes to collect you. You don’t say goodbye to your father, and you don’t tell your mother or sister the real reason you’re leaving, or that you’re never coming back. Before you reach your destination, you must pass through multiple military checkpoints, any one of which could see you arrested, tortured or executed.

A soldier with the Syrian National Army holds a AK-74 assault rifle.

That’s how 28-year-old Syrian Subhi Nahas left his home, his family and his country, and with good reason. Subhi lived in Idlib in northwestern Syria, a town currently controlled by Jabhat Al-Nusra, a Sunni jihadist militia, regarded as the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda. Subhi is gay, and in that part of the world right now, that’s a death sentence. Subhi learned early on that whatever it was that made him feel different, he needed to keep secret until he had the means to escape.

This journey began when he was 15 years old. “I felt different and did not know what was wrong with me,” he says. “I was depressed.

I didn’t know who to talk to so I asked my parents if I could go to a psychologist. I didn’t like what other boys liked. My schoolmates and friends talked about their favourite sports and favourite games and I was never interested. And I realised that I was having crushes on boys. I could not explain it. I didn’t know I was gay.”

The psychiatrist outed Subhi to his parents.“He said, ‘Your son has a perverted orientation that should be monitored and corrected somehow.’ He even suggested some methods to help [cure me] like electroshock therapy, which, luckily was very expensive,” he says.

“My family didn’t know what to do with this news because they’d never been exposed to such things before. They asked the psychiatrist what to do. He told them I shouldn’t be left alone with my friends, especially the boys, and they should monitor my phone calls and where I go, and I should not be allowed to stay with somebody overnight. It was a full-time job for them just to monitor me.”

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About DNA Magazine

DNA #191 is our Annual Swimwear Edition. Our cover model this month is Quinton Wynn. Check out his fun shoot with Hayden Su inside. For more fellas, check out the guys of Luke Austin’s new Beau Book, we have a Fire Island fling with Brandon Cole Bailey, beach boy Cory Frederick hits the seashore with Jorge Rivas, tattooed model Vince Ramos poses for West Phillips and beach bear Risan works his magic with photographer Leo Castro. There’s plenty of swimwear inside this issue. Check out the season’s hottest trends in our Swimwear Review of 2016. Our Grooming Guru Will Fennell is back and this month with a focus on monogamy and coconuts, we take a look at Cate Blanchett’s new film Carol, check out exciting new travel bookazine Elska, Siki Daha chats to us about his new music, we’re on the search for a folk hero and see awarding winning play Buyer and Cellar. For your serious reads, we meet a man who escaped certain death from ISIS and is now helping to save others from the brutality, check out indie flick Kiss Me Kill Me and how the 20th Century was influenced by Oscar Wilde and Robert Baden-Powell. We also check out why being intimate is healthy for you, Josh Piterman is our Straight Mate, plus all our regular favourites including Boys Toys, Month in a Minute, Loving, Dear Diva and Burntoast.