“As a young boy I dreamt of changing the world but I was made to believe it was impossible.
After tragically losing my soulmate, the love of my life, I have no option left but to change it. “
Matt grew up in a deeply homophobic area of South Birmingham (UK) and studied photography and filmmaking after leaving school. Struggling for years to accept his own sexuality, at the age of 23 Matt ‘came out’ to himself. He finally felt strong enough to accept who he was, and how he was born.
Soon after he met Naz in a nightclub in Birmingham. Naz was 21. They quickly fell in love. They ran away to London to be themselves and escape the intense pressures of not being out to family. They grew tired of having to keep their relationship a secret, fearing what might happen if they were found out by Naz’s religious parents.
After 13 years together and engaged to be married, Naz, a successful and much loved GP, sadly took his own life two days after being confronted by his family about his sexuality. It was the first time they had been faced with the truth that their son was gay, in a long term relationship with another man and planning to get married.
One of their solutions was to tell Naz that he needed to be ‘cured’ for being gay. They did not want ‘shame’ brought upon their family.
In memory of his soulmate Naz, Matt went on to start ‘Naz and Matt Foundation‘ – a multi award-winning charity that tackles religious and cultural homophobia in schools, colleges, universities, families and communities. The charity’s mission is to “Never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children”.
As Spokesperson and Chair, Matt speaks frequently at public events, conferences and in the local, national and international press about the dangers of homophobia triggered by conservative religious and cultural beliefs.
Matt has dedicated his life to preventing what happened to his fiancé Naz happening to anyone else, ever again. He is a much sought after Keynote Speaker who is able to engage and captivate audiences as he talks from the heart about unconditional love, acceptance, motivation, religion + faith, goal setting and finding inner peace.
Channeling is love for Naz, and honouring the stories of the hundreds of individuals who have now contacted Matt, he has embarked on his journey as a filmmaker.
- My God, I’m Queer (2019, 60 mins)
A documentary that beautifully explores the lives of several Queer Muslims as they go about their daily lives. The film, which is currently in production, is helping to create a positive, uplifting message that will inspire the audience to be themselves, find greater acceptance and ultimately prevent another tragedy from happening again.
- To Chechnya, With Love (2019, 7 mins)
Short film highlighting the human rights abuses taking place against gay people in Chechnya.
- The Search for Sunrise (2015, 11 mins)
Short film about tragedy, unconditional love and never, ever giving up on the person you love most.
Matt’s work has contributed to him being awarded the Attitude Pride Award for ‘building bridges between religious and LGBTQI communities’, and the JCI ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award for cultural achievement’. The Independent on Sunday voted Matt as the 6th most influential LGBTI person in Britain.
Matt and Naz’s personal story has inspired a ground-breaking storyline in one of the most watched TV programmes in Britain, Coronation Street.
Their love story was turned into the ever popular song “Be the Man”, released by The Young’Uns and performed at Glastonbury. It was later shortlisted for a BBC Folk Award and released in the charts. The album it features on, Strangers, won Best Folk Album of 2018.
Recent public speaking engagements
Home Office ‘Ending FGM & Forced Marriage’ Conference
Department for Education
House of Lords
West Midlands Police
National Day of Memory
University of Birmingham
University of Derby
University of Warwick
University of Oxford
University of Central Lancashire
Secondary school talks across London, Birmingham, Oldham, Bradford and Leeds,
Capgemini IDAHOT Conference
Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra’s anniversary concert
Fourth Choir Christmas Concert
BBC World Service
BBC News 24
BBC Asian Network
BBC Look North
Canadian Breakfast TV
BBC Radio Ulster
The Sunday Times
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio WM
London Live TV