The Zakar Twins Publish Their Story About Coming Out Gay In The Arab Community

They’ve teased about it for years, and now Michael and Zach Zakar’s book Pray The Gay Away has been published.

Speaking about the book, the twins told DNA that the book is all about coming out gay where their share their own experiences including having had holy water thrown at them after they told their religious mother they were gay.

“The book’s message is to show others that the coming out process isn’t ideal but things do get better in their own fucked up ways. And to show the Arab community in a different light”.

Here are some of our favourite passages from the book:

Dad laughs, “What if they were gay, Iman?” 

Mom’s neck turns so fast that I get wipe lash, “Khalid, don’t say that! I would wish they had cancer instead. At least that’s curable.” 

“I’m kidding!”

Whatever Mom says next must be bad because she responds to Dad in Arabic.


“Hi guys,” her head suddenly pops up with a big murderous smile sliced across her face. She moves closer to the bed. “You guys hungry?” The bowl reaches eye level: green grapes. Is this a white flag of surrender? 
“I’m good, thank you, Mom,” I say as lovingly as possible.

She angles her head like she didn’t understand what I said, so I repeat myself in case she didn’t hear me correctly, “I’m good, thank yo–” Mom forces a green grape into my mouth and lunges on top of me forcing her knee into my chest while her other leg balances and braces her on the floor. 

“What are you doing?” Michael shrieks from his bed. 

“Nothing. Keep eating, Zach,” she declares. She forces another grape into my mouth. Her knee restricts my movement while Michael watches befuddled as this hazing goes down. He’s horrified but secretly enjoying the show, and doing absolutely nothing to cause conflict.

I manage to shake her off and grab the grapes out of his mouth.
“Zach! Just keep eating,” Mom says reassuringly. 

“Mom, what are you doing?” I choke, spewing grapes. 

She composes herself, “It’s okay! The priest blessed the grapes!” The green grapes aren’t a peace offering. They are the start of a war.


As I fall further into Catechism, the chasm between my mother and myself grows. My hatred for organized religion grows. I don’t understand how the person who is meant to protect me keeps forcing me to do something that brings me nothing but emotional distress.

The more Mom forces me to go the more I feel like I am being held hostage: an Iraqi has taken me away from everyone/everything I love, I am sitting in a room full of foreign people speaking a language I don’t understand receiving a small morsel of bread that symbolizes Jesus’ body, and I am forced to stay there until my captor (in my case, Ms. Maple) sets me free.


The cuffs are heavier than I presumed. I have a nicer pair of handcuffs, I want to say. Mine are furry and cute while these are a harder metal that weighs my wrists down. 
Latino Cop escorts me out the door as the two others follow. 
Wait! At least let him put his shoes on!” Mom begs.

“Mom, it’s okay,” I try to play cool.

“No, Michael, everyone will think you’re a fool.” I think being arrested has already cleared that up for everyone.

“No, Mom. It’s okay, we’re way beyond that point.”

“Michael, put your shoes on,” she insists.

he cops stand awkwardly looking back and forth between Mom and me as we bicker about footwear.


Pray The Gay Away is available to buy on Amazon.

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