In this episode of ITV’s From The North, myself, the incredible Lucky Roy Singh and presenter Sarah Rogers discuss the challenges of homophobia faced by many LGBT+ individuals from South Asian families with strong cultural or religious beliefs.
‘Nearly half of young LGBT+ people who are left homeless after coming out are from religious backgrounds – with strict interpretations of texts like the Bible and the Quran often being used to incorrectly argue being gay is a sin.’
For many LGBTQI+ individuals struggling to find acceptance from their parents and community the fear of stigma, rejection or abuse often forces them to hide their sexuality or gender orientation.
It is this pressure of never being able to share their true identity that forces many to lead double lives, shrouded in secrecy from their family. This immense pressure builds up over time and at some point can become so great that individuals feel the only way forward is through excessive alcohol, substance abuse and sadly, ultimately suicide.
Lucky Roy Singh is a survivor of ‘honour’ based abuse and now uses drag to challenge the prejudice, homophobia and ignorance towards LGBTQI+ people. In his book, Take a Walk in my Big Indian Heels Lucky shares his experiences of being gay and from a Sikh Indian background and the challenges he faced being accepted by the parents of the man he married.
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.