The partner of a man who took his own life this year after coming out to his mother has set up a foundation in his honour.
Last week, an inquest heard of how Dr Nazim Mahmood, a 34-year-old Harley Street GP, took his own life on 30 July, just days after he came out to his Muslim mother after years of secrecy.
Speaking to PinkNews, Matthew Ogston – Dr Mahmood’s fiancé – spoke about the Naz and Matt Foundation – which will support people struggling with religion and sexuality.
Paying tribute to his partner of 13 years, he said: “Naz was a very successful individual, he had a very good career. He was an example in society of an upstanding member of the community.
“We just strived to be good people, doing good things in life – everything Naz did was about seeing the happiness in other people.
“His clinic was about making people happy. His career as a GP was very much the same thing – helping people to find medical answers to problems they were experiencing themselves.
“With the Naz and Matt Foundation, I’d like to continue that, to provide a support network and place to go for individuals struggling with their sexuality, and trying to come out.
“The Naz and Matt Foundation is not particularly aimed at any religion. It’s aimed at communities that are very closed in their perception. There’s a lack of understanding.
“They need to realise that we are still the beautiful children they gave birth to – and they need to accept us for who they are.”
Mr Ogston has big plans to engage with gay people, their family and friends in religious communities – and is even planning to release an illustrated children’s book that advocates a tolerant, accepting message.
He said: “It’s using animals as metaphors for real life…. We need to start winning the hearts and minds of people, and the best way to do that is to get the message across early.”
Of stories in the press about Mr Mahmood’s death, he said: “There’s a lot in the media about a reaction to this, but it’s about starting an open dialogue.
“Police involvement, policy from government – I don’t see how that could help. It’s about speaking to people on a grassroots level.”
Mr Ogston also opened up about the inquest last week, where the coroner said: “It seems desperately sad that in 2014 a person should feel that they can’t be accepted because of the way that they live and I can only feel the deepest sympathy for Nazim that he felt so sad and desperate about this that he took his life.”
He told PinkNews: “The answer that the coroner gave was an answer that I have to accept.”
“It was good to see that someone outside of our situation could see the real issues for what they were. It’s not a ‘win’… it’s just a way to understand our situation. We just dealt with the issues we were given in our life.
He said previously: “When [Naz] asked ‘why do I need to find a cure, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just a good person trying to live a good life’, that must have created such a sadness within Naz.
“I only wish I’d had longer to have spoken to Naz, to try and talk things through and just tell him it would be okay.”
Matt set up the Naz and Matt Foundation in memory of his soulmate and fiancé, Naz, who passed away two days after being confronted about his sexuality by his religious parents. It was the first time that they knew their son was gay, in a relationship with Matt for 13 years and that they were planning to get married.