Matt Mahmood-Ogston met his “soulmate” back in 2001 after a chance encounter.
However, the future he had planned out for himself and fiancé Dr Nazim Mahmood, known as Naz, was tragically cut short.
13 years after they met, Naz took his own life just days after his strict Muslim family discovered his sexuality, reports Birmingham Live.
His family decided he needed to have his sexuality “cured” because they considered it to be a disease.
The couple had met in a Birmingham nightclub in November 2001 when Naz came and sat down next to Matt.
They quickly fell in love and set up home in Moseley but one thing clouded their happiness. Nazim feared his family would not accept their relationship.
Wanting freedom and the anonymity of a new life in a big city, they moved to London, quickly formed a circle of friends and, in time, became engaged.
But still Naz kept his sexuality a secret from his relatives back home until the truth emerged during a trip back to Birmingham for Eid celebrations in July 2014.
Within days, he had taken his own life. He was just 34.
Now Matt runs the Naz and Matt Foundation in his fiance’s memory to help families learn to accept their children and see that being gay is not a choice.
He said some were still being pressed into forced marriages with members of the opposite sex, with families hoping it would “cure” their kids of being gay.
Matt recalled: “I first met Naz on a night out in Birmingham. I was sitting there and I heard this soft voice say: ‘Excuse me, can I sit he,上海品茶QQPatrice,re please?”
“In that moment my life changed because he’d arrived. He was the one I was looking for.
“We got quickly got talking and we fell in love.
“We just wanted to be together but to live our lives and be ourselves we had to move to London because living in Birmingham was just too scary.
“We couldn’t walk down the street together, we couldn’t even have our blinds open in the living room.
“Naz would say that if his parents drove past and saw us holding hands or doing something any other couple might do, they would be on the doorstep demanding we broke up because it wasn’t acceptable in their family to have a gay son.”
Nazim was raised by a strict Muslim family and he knew they would not accept his sexuality, Matt said.
He was questioned by relatives about when he was going to find a wife and pretended Matt was just a friend at family events, his partner said.
Matt said: “We had to do everything in our power to protect our relationship which is why running away to London was the only way forward for us.
“We didn’t know anyone there but we wanted to find freedom in the bright lights, the big city with adventure ahead where we could be ourselves.
“When we were in London we could be ourselves but every so many weeks we’d travel back to Birmingham and he would see his family.
“That was where he would have to pretend to be the perfect Muslim son they wanted him to be.
“Then, when we got back to London, he would be grumpy because he’d been through a lot emotionally as he was having to hide his identity.”
On their tenth anniversary, the pair decided they would throw a party to thank friends for their support – and Matt decided he was going to propose.
He continued: “I got down on one knee in the DJ booth and asked him to marry me and he said yes.
“But, if we were to get married he would have to come out because he wanted his mum at the wedding.
“We knew that might never happen because he feared what his family would do if they found out.”
Despite knowing they may never marry, Matt didn’t mind.
Just being engaged to the love of his life and getting to share that moment with all of their friends was enough.
However, in July 2014, Naz’s family discovered his sexuality when he was visiting them during Eid celebrations.
Matt said: “His sexuality was brought up and challenged, which made him break down in tears.
“They told him he needed to see a psychiatrist to be cured because they saw being gay as a disease but it’s not.
“Just as somebody is born straight, we were born gay. The only choice we have is to accept ourselves for how we are born and the way that God made us.
“This is a journey we all have to go on, hoping one day our parents accept us too.
“Quite often when we come out, many of us in the community face rejection, particularly when there is a strong, conservative, religious interpretation.
“That confrontation left Naz deeply upset and in the days following we talked about what happened and tried to make sense of it all.”
Matt tried desperately to console his distraught partner but just two days later, their love story came to a tragic end.
On July 30, 2014, Matt received phone calls begging him to leave work and go home with no explanation of what was happening.
He said: “I got home and I saw police cars and blue flashing lights.
“I was bundled into one of the cars when I tried to get into our home and that’s when I saw a red blanket on the floor.
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“That’s when I realised that my fiancé and soul mate was g,上海品茶工作室Carmen,one, and when the police said the words I desperately didn’t want them to say. I broke down.
“My reason for living was no longer here. In the weeks afterwards, it didn’t get any easier.”
Matt later changed his legal name to Matt Mahmood-Ogston even though they were not married.
He said: “Naz once asked me to promise him that, if anything happened to him, I would never forget him.
“When Naz passed away I wanted to make sure that I, and the rest of the world, would never forget.
“I changed my name to include Naz’s name so, whenever I write my name in full, his name will always be there next to mine.”
Where is Matt now?
Matt set up the Naz and Matt Foundation in his fiance’s memory to help families learn to accept their children and see that being gay is not a choice.
He said: “The work I’ve now done setting up the Naz and Matt Foundation, which I set up in his memory, hundreds of people have come forward with similar stories.
“I felt I had to create the foundation because a community and a conservative religious family did not understand what it means to be born gay.
“They saw it as a disease that needed to be got rid of; something incompatible with their interpretation of their religion.
The Naz and Matt Foundation was set up in 2014 in memory of Dr Nazim Mahmood. It is a charity that aims to empower and support the LGBTQ+ community, their friends and family to work towards resolving challenges linked to sexuality or gender identity, particularly in cases where there is a strong religious influence.
You can request help from the organisation via email – firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
“I hear from men and women who fear their parents will disown or emotionally or physically abuse them if they find out they’re gay.
“In some cases they force them to marry a member of the opposite sex in a belief it will somehow ‘cure’ them of being gay.
“It’s made me realise that this was never an isolated incident.
“This is a wider issue that needs to be tackled in communities from all around the UK.
“There is a very strong religious interpretation that some families from any faith have that tells them that they can’t accept someone from being gay, this is what happens.
“It leads to suicides and it’s not acceptable. That’s why we need to challenge these views because
“I don’t want anything to happen to their children. We just want acceptance for their children for how they were born.
“There’s no one to blame, there’s nothing wrong with them.
“The true beauty of a relationship with your child is loving them unconditionally and that’s all we ask.”