Haaz Sleiman is a gay Muslim and ‘total bottom’ — and he’s not shutting up.

Last week, actor ​Haaz Sleiman didn't so much come out of the closet as much as he eagerly burst through its doors.

Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.

On Aug. 22, the "Nurse Jackie" star put to bed a burning question the LGBTQ rumor mill had been churning for years: Yes, he's gay.


In Sleiman's unfiltered coming out video on Instagram, he emphatically stated he's a "gay, Muslim, Arab-American man" and prefers "bottoming" during sex.

😈 💪🏽🌈💪🏽🌈

A post shared by Haaz Sleiman (@haazsleiman) on

His candidness sent the internet buzzing. Many fans were supportive, he notes, but his preference for bottoming (or receiving) sparked a flurry of accusatory comments claiming he made the video solely to create dramatic headlines and boost his career. Many media outlets chose that detail about his sex life to focus on specifically.

"Some people are comparing me to Trump," the actor says with a laugh, noting the president's attention-seeking ways. "I don’t know how that happened."

Those critics are missing the point though.

The actor proudly shared his sexual preference for bottoming, he says, to fight back against a form of misogyny that shames queer men who enjoy that position and attaches harmful stereotypes to their identities.

As Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez wrote for The Advocate:

"Some of the stigma associated with bottom-shaming is indicative of gender roles. How many times have you heard a straight person ask, 'Which of you is the girl in the relationship?' The guy on the bottom is the one being penetrated, which they associate with femininity. In this society, which is more of a handicap — being a woman or being a man who exhibits a trait associated with being a woman?"

Sleiman was hoping his candidness about bottoming would help change that destructive narrative — not garner some free press for a few days.

"It makes me think," Sleiman says of the backlash from other gay men, "do they know that I’m on their side?"

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Sleiman is frustrated that much of the reaction to his video has missed the most important part of his message: Anti-LGBTQ violence is on the rise.

"The reason why I made this video and came out now in this manner is — it breaks my heart to know more and more gay people are being murdered," he says. "A part of me doesn’t want the world to forget that they’re gone."

Sleiman began his video citing a report that found 33 LGBTQ people — disproportionately transgender women of color — have been murdered as of August. Last year, excluding the mass shooting deaths at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in June, that figure stood at 26 deaths — for the entirety of 2016.

"When I read that report, I couldn’t stop thinking about it," Sleiman says. "I was obsessing about it."

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Like many LGBTQ people, homophobia, transphobia, and anti-queer violence hits close to home for Sleiman.

The actor was born and raised in Lebanon — a country with very few legal protections for LGBTQ people — before immigrating to Michigan when he was 21 years old. While some family members have been supportive of Sleiman's sexuality, many distant relatives in Lebanon have sent him vile messages after coming out, claiming he disgraced the family and asking him to change his last name.

"I don’t think I’m going to be able to go back to my village," Sleiman says. "I don’t feel safe to go there anymore."

Much of the pain he's carried from a burdened childhood will be reflected in a new, semi-autobiographical film Sleiman is writing.

"I could not survive [in Lebanon]; I would have died," he explains of the film's personal nature. The movie, featuring a gay character, will aim to expand minds and open hearts for LGBTQ and straight, cisgender people alike. "Even if nobody hurt me, I would have died. The best way I could put it: I felt so alone."  

That's why the actor is speaking out — and speaking out loudly — now.

"Don’t ever forget that you are so powerful and you can do anything," he notes to any closeted person who needs a shoulder to cry on. "No matter where you’re at, no matter what you’re dealing with, keep repeating that in your mind. And you will find a way."

To learn more about and fight back against anti-LGBTQ violence, visit the Transwomen of Color Collective.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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