What is the purpose of the Naz and Matt Foundation?
We tackle homophobia triggered by religion to help parents accept their children.
Naz and Matt Foundation was set up in 2014 following the sad loss of Matt’s fiancé, Naz, who took his own life two days after his deeply religious family confronted him about his sexuality.
Naz and Matt Foundation exists to empower and support LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersex) individuals, their friends and family to work towards resolving challenges linked to sexuality or gender identity, particularly where religion is heavily influencing the situation.
We are a registered UK charity and have won multiple awards for our work building bridges between religious and LGBTQI+ communities.
Our mission is to never let religion, any religion, come in the way of the unconditional love between parents and their children.Naz and Matt Foundation’s mission statement
By tackling the problem head on and raising awareness Naz and Matt Foundation hopes to open the eyes of closed minds in communities and families so that they will love the children they gave birth to, for the individuals they were born to be.
Why are you tackling homophobia triggered by religion?
On 30th July, 2014, my fiancé, my partner in everything, and eternal soulmate Naz (Dr Nazim Mahmood) sadly passed away, two days after his religious family confronted him about his sexuality. It was the first time they had heard about our 13-year relationship and our plans to marry. They told Naz to go to a psychiatrist to be ‘cured’. They treated him like a disease that needed to be got rid of.
The day 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 told me not to tell anyone that Naz ‘liked men’ as it would bring ‘shame’ on their family.
Out of respect I followed their wishes, until it reached a point and I decided I could not sit back and let this happen to anyone else ever again.
You may read a more detailed account of what happened in The Guardian’s interview with Matt – My boyfriend killed himself because his family couldn’t accept that he was gay
If you need someone to talk to, in confidence, please contact us for a friendly chat.
(a) To advance education and promote knowledge to create understanding within communities and families where religion is affecting their ability to accept or tolerate individuals who are born LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning or Intersex);
(b) To promote and protect the good health of LGBTQI individuals and their friends and family by offering support and signposting them to established counselling services, to assist in resolution of the challenges linked to sexuality or gender identity particularly where religion may be affecting the situation; and
(c) The promotion of equality and diversity in particular the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity; by raising awareness among the public about the negative impact that difficulties (with a focus on religious beliefs) can have on LGBTQI individuals.
We are a registered charity
Naz and Matt Foundation is registered with the UK Charity Commission.
Charity number 1160694.
Our work has been recognised
- 2020: Awarded the Faith and Belief Community Award for our work supporting faith and belief communities in Greater London. This was namely for our annual online event #OutAndProudParentsDay which celebrates proud religious parents of LGBTQI+ children.
- 2020: Nominated for a National Diversity “Community Organisation” Award. Matt nominated for the Positive Role Model Award.
- 2019: Shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards.
- 2019: Nominated for a Rainbow Honours Award.
- 2019: Awarded IKWRO’s Special Recognition Award for ‘Outstanding Organisation Tackling “Honour” Based Violence’
- 2019: British LGBT Awards – recognised as a Top 10 LGBT+ Charities or Community Initiative.
- 2018: Nominated for a National Diversity “Community Organisation” Award.
- 2018: “Be the Man” (the story of Naz and Matt) shortlisted for “Best Original Track” at the BBC Folk Awards. Written and performed by the The Young’uns,
- 2017: Shortlisted for the No2H8 Crime Awards by TellMAMA (a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the UK).
- 2016: JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award accepted by Matt on behalf of Naz and Matt Foundation.
- 2016: Matt nominated for Positive Role Model Award (National Diversity Awards).
- 2015: Matt voted 6th most influential LGBTQI person in the UK, by the Independent on Sunday’s Rainbow List.
- 2015: Received official support from the Association of British Muslims for our work.
- 2015: Matt Awarded the Attitude Pride Award for ‘Building bridges between religious and LGBTQI communities’ for his work through the Foundation.
We are proud members of the following groups which allow us to share knowledge and increase our charity’s effectiveness tackling so called ‘honour based abuse’
- Member of Karma Nirvana’s Survivor Ambassador Panel
- Ambassador of HARM (The Honour Abuse Research Matrix), an innovative, multi-disciplinary global network of professionals, researchers, practitioners and policy makers who work towards tackling ‘honour abuse’. HARM is led by Dr. Roxanne Khan, University of Central Lancashire.
Receive updates about our work
Would you like to receive updates about Naz and Matt Foundation via email? We will not sent you a lot of emails – just the important onesSign up to email newsletter
Donate and help us stop religious and cultural homophobia
We would not be able to do our vital work without the financial support of parents, LGBTQI+ individuals, our patrons, corporate organisations and members of the public who donate. We receive no grants or financial support from the government. We are eternally thankful to everyone who has donated and supported our cause.Donate to help stop homophobia
What will you do with the money that you raise?
We will be using all money raised wisely, and carefully, to ensure that we can make the most effective impact to as many people as possible. We are small charity, run by a team of volunteers, many of whom were very close to Naz and refuse to sit back and let this situation to continue.
Our initiatives and projects will meet one or more of the 3 objectives set out in our charity record with the UK Charity Commission. We have listed a number of current priorities we are are focussing on below.
- Continue to campaign in the local and national media about the dangers of religious and cultural homophobia, and gay cure therapy.
- Increase the number of our school talks we deliver – we talk openly with children of different ages about religion-triggered homophobia and how dangerous it can be to have a closed mind. So far we have given school talks in Birmingham, across London, Bradford, Leeds and Oldham, plus also college and university talks. More info >
- Create thought provoking media that can be used as education material in schools, colleges, universities, community centres, and also at home for families.
- Distribute to primary schools and community centres our new illustrated children’s book – Salim’s Secret.
- Finish writing our second children’s book, for secondary schools +
- Document the stories of LGBTQI+ individuals who are affected by the issues that we tackle.
- Provide a safe place that individuals affected by religious homophobia can engage with each other online, or a member of our team.
- Establish a method for individuals to be able to contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide practical assistance or connections to emergency services that they may not know are available to them, such as shelter or emergency counselling. Our aim is not to operate this service in a silo, on our own, as this is not cost effective. We are currently speaking to organisations who are aligned to our mission to help us provide this service.
- Provide a self-help guide to LGBTQI-friendly organisations, hand picked because they understand the immense pressure that religion may be having on a young gay person’s life. The goal of this is to provide clear, concise information that can be accessed online without the need to speak to anyone directly. Sometimes there is a huge barrier that must be overcome to have the strength speak to someone in person. I know this first hand. Providing the information online will hopefully shorten that barrier.
- Continue to organise events that raise awareness with the local and national press about religious homophobia.
- Our 150 mile walk in April 2015 – The Journey to Find Acceptance – raised over £12,000 for our Foundation (thank you!), and we ‘estimate’ that our journey was watched, listened to, or read by over 10 million people worldwide thanks to the positive multi-broadcast coverage by Sky News, ITV News, BBC World Service, BBC News, Gaydio, Canadian Breakfast Television and a large number of newspapers including the Evening Standard, Evening Mail, Ham and High and Camden New Journal.
Naz and Matt Foundation is managed by myself (Matt), a small team of dedicated trustees, and an extended team of volunteers who help with our various activities.
If you feel that you have a particular skill that we can use to speed up delivery, and increase the quality and effectiveness of any of the initiatives please do get in touch.
Thank you for reading and we look forward to creating a brighter future with your help.