Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individuals alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the singer and LGBTQ rights advocate, Hamed Sinno.
Hamed Sinno was born to a Lebanese father who had lived in the United States and a Jordanian mother who had lived between Morocco and Rome. He has American citizenship.
Growing up, Sinno’s household was Anglophone. He attended an American school and graduated “not knowing how to properly speak Arabic,” mostly learning Arabic as he wrote songs. While Sinno did not have formal musical training or learn to read music, he sang in the school choir.
While studying at the American University of Beirut, Sinno came out. There he also began experimenting with subversive graffiti as a form of self-expression before getting involved with Mashrou’ Leila.
Hamed Sinno has amassed an enormous following in his home country as the lead singer and co-founder of Mashrou’ Leila, one of the biggest bands in Lebanon. Hamed proudly embraces his queer identity and is an LGBTQIA+ advocate in his songs and life. As a result, he has faced years of backlash and harassment. The hate campaign reached a boiling point in August 2019, when organizers of the Byblos International Festival, one of the country’s most significant music events, where Mashrou’ Leila was slated to play, received death threats and were accused of blasphemy due to Hamed’s lyrics and social media posts.
Hamed now lives in exile in the United States. He lectured and is currently studying at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
Here is Hamed Sinno in his own words:
“I felt like a freak of nature ― that there was something completely wrong with my existence, even,” Sinno… said in Arabic. “People would make fun of me, hit me. I used to feel very alone.” After Sinno came out, he realized nothing was wrong with him. “It’s the people around me who were wrong,”
In its December 2020 report, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) found that homosexuality is criminalized in 67 of 193 UN member states and one non-independent jurisdiction, the Cook Islands, while two UN member states, Iraq and Egypt, criminalize it de facto but not in legislation. We at the Evolving Man Project reject homophobia and hate. We salute Hamed Sinno for using his massive platform to advocate for LGTBQ rights for all people across the globe. Today we honor Hamed Sinno as our Evolved Man of the Week.