Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Out Of Grief, Comes Hope

Matthew Ogston and Nazim [Naz] Mahmood were a couple, and, in fact were engaged to be married. But Naz needed to do one thing before the wedding: come out to his Muslim mother.

So he met with her, and told her he was happy, that he was in love, that he’d met someone and was to be married; then he told he was gay. Naz’ mother told him he needed to seek a cure, and a few days later he swallowed a handful of pulls and leapt to his death from the balcony of his home.

Now, his fiancé, Matthew, could have blamed the mother for her words; he could have sent his time wallowing in self-pity, grieving constantly about the man he loved who is no longer there, but he had a different plan.

He has created the Naz and Matt Foundation, a group that will support LGBT people struggling with religion and their sexuality.
“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. It’s one of the hardest things for people from religious backgrounds to overcome if they aren’t going to find acceptance in their community. 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.” — Matthew Ogston
Ogston has plans to engage with LGBT 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.

Ogston recalls one of the last conversations he had with Naz, after Naz had come out to his mother:
“[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.’”
Too bad his mother, and her faith, couldn’t see that in her own son, but good that, out of Matthew’s grief, he has created a way for others struggling with their sexual orientation, their family, and their faith, have a place to go for answers, for help, for tolerance, for acceptance.

For family.

6 comments:

Raybeard said...

Yes, I'd read about this grievous and tragic case. Let's all hope that the foundation will be a shining monument to the memory of the young man, which points up the futility and utter needlessness of this utter waste of life.

It's true, of course, that attitudes foisted on some by religion has to take a large part of the blame, but that itself extends on to make the mother (in this case) be more concerned about what others would think of HER rather than her putting the well-being and happiness of her own son first. Such is also the basis of most of the so-called 'honour' killings, which covers up naked murder by the use of an otherwise respectable word. No doubt the mother has an awful lot to ponder on, but as long as Islam teaches that being gay is a 'choice' I don't think she'll be feeling too guilty about her own contribution to the horrible event, though I may be wrong. In fact she may well still be thinking that she did the right thing by telling him to get 'cured'. So very sad. Hope that in her grief she uses the auspices of the foundation to wise herself up.
RIP Naz.

the dogs' mother said...

Good luck to Matthew Ogston.

viktor kerney said...

I hope this foundation grows and remind the mother of her ways

anne marie in philly said...

I still wanna bitch-slap naz' mom.

but good on matt for creating love outta h8.

Mitchell is Moving said...

I admire Matthew Ogston for his strength and ability to respond in such a positive way. I wish him huge success.

Helen Lashbrook said...

Matthew is right not to focus completely on religion; but religions can and do foster a lot of hate towards those who do not conform to 'our' ideology. Long live Matthew's spirit of conciliation