“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 but to change it."
About Matt Mahmood-Ogston
I grew up in a deeply homophobic area of South Birmingham (UK) and studied photography and filmmaking after leaving school.
Struggling for years to accept my own sexuality, at the age of twenty three I finally ‘came out’ to myself. In other words, I finally felt strong enough to break free from the prejudice and homophobia that existed in the community where I grew up. I took my first steps towards accepting who I really was, and who I was born to be.
Soon after I met my darling Naz, my soulmate, in a nightclub in Birmingham. Naz was 21.
We quickly fell madly, deeply in love. But we were forced to live in fear. We had no option but to run away to London to be ourselves and escape the intense pressures of not being out to our families. We grew tired of keeping our relationship a secret, fearing what might happen if we were found out by Naz’s deeply religious parents.
Meeting and falling in love with my soulmate
We eloped to Gretna Green a few months after meeting for the first time, naively hoping we could get married across the Scottish border. 10 years after the moment we met, I got down on one knee and proposed to my darling Naz. He said yes!
The day our lives ended
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 - to avoid bringing ‘shame’ upon their family. Two days later he took their advice and was gone, forever.
Less than twenty four hours after Naz passed away I was told by his family that he was living in ‘sin’ because of their religious beliefs. In the same breath I was also told that I was living in ‘sin’ because of ‘my religion’.
They emotionally blackmailed me and told me not to tell anyone that Naz ‘liked men’ as 'Naz would not want shame to be brought upon their family'.
The family told me the wrong time for Naz’s burial, deliberately burying him without me being there. I was unable to say goodbye to the man I loved.
Out of misguided respect I continued to follow their wishes to avoid ‘dishonouring’ their family in their community... until it reached a point and I decided I could not sit back and let this happen to anyone else ever again.
"Give the world love and positivity and it will come back to you 100 times over."
- Dr Nazim Mahmood.
In my late twenties, during a particularly low period in my life, these words were shared with me by Naz. His inspirational words are now engraved on two memorial benches. One bench in London where Naz wanted to be buried, and the second in Birmingham close to where his physical body was buried by his family.
I now live my life by this value.
My boyfriend killed himself because his family couldn’t accept that he was gay
Read one of the most detailed and heart breaking accounts of what happened to Naz and I in 2014.
Naz’s Legacy – New foundation Launches
BBC Interview exploring some of the emotional challenges Naz faced with his family after being forced to 'come out' during the religious celebration of Eid.
A legacy that will change the world
In memory of my soulmate Naz, I founded Naz and Matt Foundation, a now award-winning charity that tackles religious and cultural homophobia in schools, colleges, universities, families and communities.
The charity has a simple, long term mission to “Never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children“.
The charity’s main focus of work is to remove the barriers that prevent religious and culturally conservative parents from accepting their LGBTQI+ children.
The foundation provides free support and mentoring to LGBTQI+ individuals, and provides books, videos and learning materials to help parents learn, understand and accept the child they gave birth to.
Be the Man
The love story of Naz and Matt
Be the Man, the love story of Naz and Matt
In 2017, our story was turned into a chart topping, BBC Folk Awards nominated song called "Be the Man". The piece explored the moment I first meet Naz. falling in love, and sadly the tragic events that followed thirteen years later.
Written and performed by The Young'uns
The Real Cost of Homophobia
In one of the most in-depth, soul searching interviews I've done to date, this F*ck It Moments Podcast episode is our story of love, of heartbreak and a lesson in how we we each have a journey we must travel on in order to understand who we really are.