"Shahs of Sunset" breakout star Reza Farahan says it's easier to be a gay man on TV than a Persian, but neither are easy. So the fact that a gay Persian man is on TV every Sunday night not only makes him proud, but he also thinks it could help change the world, particularly the Middle East.
"I think being Persian and different in anyone is really hard because Persians don't like people that deviate from the norm," Farahan tells The Huffington Post. "So if you don't follow the cookie-cutter life they want you to follow, they are not going to accept you. So is it really difficult being gay and Persian? [Nods.] And it's even more difficult for people that aren't as confident as I am."
He jokes that behind the scenes, people on the show call him "Stonewall Farahan" -- a reference to the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969, a key moment in the gay rights movement, and a name that he embraces.
"The best part of being on the show is getting Facebook messages and tweets from people telling me I helped them come out of the closet. They see they have a future; they are not going to kill themselves," says Farahan.
He adds, "It took the combination of Ryan Seacrest Productions and the bravery of Bravo to come together to put six Middle Easterners on TV. Ryan is helping the peace process. I think it's brave to put us on TV at a time in history when it's the most volatile region on earth."
"Shahs of Sunset" airs Sunday nights on Bravo.