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Samy Nour Younes    

Transgender Activist, Actor & TED Resident

Samy Nour Younes is a transgender actor and activist of Lebanese/Puerto Rican descent. Originally from Maryland, he now lives in Brooklyn and performs across the country. Samy is also known by his former stage name, Samy el-Noury.

While he continued to train as an actor throughout his academic career, in college, he majored in his second greatest love: History. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Japanese Studies and a certificate in East Asian Studies.

Both of his passions collided when, in 2012, Samy saw a casting call for a production based on the life of playwright Yukio Mishima. He reached out to the director about serving as a dramaturg, but was instead invited to audition. He was cast in the ensemble and has been performing ever since. Samy then worked as a teaching artist for the Smithsonian Discovery Theater, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater, and Young Playwright's Theater.

As an activist, Samy served on the leadership teams of the DC Area Transmasculine Society and the Baltimore Transgender Alliance. He has co-organized rallies and benefit events for Trans Pride, Transgender Day of Remembrance, and more. He also leads panels on the barriers trans people face in accessing health care, and has helped develop trans-specific medical simulations at Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland Baltimore, and Anne Arundel Community College.

Samy has also co-hosted panels on workplace discrimination at the Environmental Protection Agency, Towson University, and elsewhere.

Today, Samy looks for ways to take his advocacy to a wider audience. He has participated in both local and national ad campaigns to promote awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and safer sex practices for trans MSM. He was also the co-host of insighT with Consuella Lopez, a DC-based online talk show with an all-trans panel. He is driven by his desire to show other trans people that they are not alone, and that love, support, and resources exist for them.

In 2017, Samy published his first-ever op-ed in The Advocate, on the challenges of being a trans actor of color. He has since appeared in a Buzzfeed video to address the same issue, and publishes new work on Medium. He aims to highlight the diversity of the trans experience—not just in their struggles, but also in their triumph.

Since moving to New York in 2018, Samy has continued to work with local organizations on mentorship and outreach for LGBTQ-identified individuals. He completed a fellowship at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, where he examined the contributions of ballroom culture to the mainstream. He was a TED resident in the fall of 2018, where he gave a TED talk on the importance of transgender history.

As of 2019, Samy has written one ten-minute play, “Ancestral Lines and Other Tall Tales,” which will be published in the upcoming Latinx Archive. He is currently developing two new works, including a solo show, both of which he aims to premiere this year.

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