Back in May 2015 I was contacted by the UK’s leading publication for the gay community – Attitude Magazine – about their inaugural Attitude Pride Awards launching for the first time this year. The awards are being organised celebrate, recognise and ‘honour members of the community who embody the spirit of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride.’
A few weeks later and I had been invited to a video and photoshoot for nominees of the awards to talk about my darling Naz, and why I felt I had no choice but to set up About Naz and Matt Foundation. During the shoot I met some truly inspirational individuals who had also been nominated for an award for their work in helping the LGBT community.
The video shoot was very emotional for me – and I had to ask the film crew for a break in the filming so that I could clear my head and reset myself. The crew and Attitude team managing the shoot were incredibly understanding and patient – their support got me through the day.
Nerves, anxiety, stress – why do I do it?
Just over a year ago, Naz and I were leading very private lives, our world only shared with our ‘soul family’. The thought of going on TV, being videod, or even photographed back then – particularly to talk about our personal lives – would have quite literally terrified me.
Now it’s all that I have – to continue fighting, by whatever means possible to ensure that Naz, my eternal soul mate will never be forgotten. And the reason why Naz joined the angels will never happen to anyone else again. Until the last breathe in my body, I have to, I owe it to Naz. I owe it to our beautiful 13-year relationship, our engagement, our future, to end homophobia – the fear of gay people – within religious communities.
The awards ceremony
On Friday June 26th I was invited to the Pride Awards ceremony, to accept an award for our Foundation’s work building bridges between religious and gay communities. I had the pleasure of being joined by my mom, Beth and Louise (who walked 150 miles with me back in April for our “Journey to Find Acceptance”).
I accepted the Attitude Pride Award on behalf of Naz and the Foundation, but not as an award… but as recognition of my love for Naz and what sadly happened to him on 30th July 2014, the day he passed away, the day that our happiness was destroyed forever.
I Changed my name, in memory of Naz, so that he will never be forgotten
On the award was engraved my new name – Matthew Naz Mahmood-Ogston – changed officially on 30th July 2015, twelve months to the day that Naz joining the angels – to the name I would have chosen when our engagement would have changed into marriage. Why? So that every time that I write my name, Naz will be right next to me, always alongside me. Naz once asked me promise him, that should anything ever happen to him, I will never forget him.
Thank you for your incredible support
Thank you everyone for your incredible support over the last twelve months. We still have a lot of work to do, a long road to travel ahead, a journey that will be hard for everyone involved. But this needs to be done. A change needs to be made – across all religions – so that you, me, everyone – can be the person that they were born to be.
Below is the video, produced for Attitude Magazine, along with the talk that i made as i went on stage.
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.