Boyfriend committed suicide because his family couldn’t accept he was gay.
One of the most difficult moments in any LGBT person’s life is deciding to open up to family and friends. For some, the gay movement is helping make these conversations easier, but for many others it’s still extremely difficult and heart-breaking.
Nazim Mahmood was just 21 years old when he met the love of his life, Matthew Ogston by coyly approaching him in gay nightclub in Birmingham, back in November 2001. “Excuse me, may I sit here?” he asked Matthew as a means of introduction. Matthew recalls instantly feeling a connection with Nazim. He remembers that within just a few minutes, Nazim asked him “I’m a Muslim, is that going to be a problem?”
Matthew was working as a web designer, while Nazim was a medical student, studying to become a doctor. Despite them buying a house together, their families were still in the dark to the nature of their relationship; they had bought a two bedroom home so their families would logically conclude they were simply housemates. “We used to have to keep the window blinds in our front room closed so no one would see us,” Matthew recalled during his interview with the Guardian. “When we walked down the street we made sure there was some distance between us just in case a family member of his spotted us together.”
Fortunately, Nazim graduated and was offered a job in a London hospital as a doctor; naturally he jumped on the opportunity and the couple moved to the capital, far away from the Birmingham nightclub they had met in. But, of course there were times (albeit rarely) family would visit Nazim, forcing Matthew to spend the night at a local bed and breakfast. Naturally, any photos or mementos which signified their relationship would also be stowed away too.
Time flew by, and in celebration of the 10th anniversary of their first meeting the couple hosted a party at a London Nightclub. With the DJ’s music on low, Matthew got down on one knee and popped the question, to which Nazim gave an emphatic yes.
On the last Saturday of July 2014 (which also coincided with the weekend of Eid) the pair had arrived back in Manchester. They had gone back to attend the memorial service of a close friend, which was taking place that Monday.
Nazim had decided that it was time to tell his family everything because of an argument. Matthew doesn’t know everything that was said during the conversation, or exactly what started it – but does know that Nazim’s mother had asked him “Is it because you like men?”
Nazim told her that he had been in a relationship with Matthew for 13 years, that he loved him and that Matthew had even proposed. She did not accept the relationship, and instead suggested he might visit a psychiatrist and become “cured”.
The couple returned back to London, after having attended the service for their friend. Just two days later (Wednesday) Matthew received an emergency phone call and was asked to immediately go back to the couple’s home. As he rounded the corner to their home, fear rose – he saw flashing police lights and that police had cordoned off the area. He found out that Nazim had thrown himself off the balcony of their London home to his death.
Matthew’s meetings with Nazim’s parents were tense and uncomfortable – he was even told the wrong time for Nazim’s funeral.
“I don’t have answers to the questions I have and I can’t find peace of mind because there are no answers,” Matthew says. “I blame a community that is so closed minded to allow these bigoted views that make families believe that their honour is more important than loving their children.”
“The respect and honour of the family is more important than the happiness of the children they gave birth to,” Matthew continues, “How sick is that?”
But Matthew has decided to try and at least offer some support for those in a similar situation, setting up the Nazim and Matt Foundation. The foundation was set up to support both those from the LGBT community and their families, helping others to deal with homophobia which stems from religion.
“Naz said it would not feel right to marry without being able to invite his mother,” says Matthew. “He wanted the unconditional love of his mum – that was all he had ever wanted: love and acceptance.”
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/21/my-boyfriend-killed-himself-because-his-family-couldnt-accept-that-he-was-gay – GUARDIAN LINK