Why I'm proud to be a gay man and a Muslim

“I’d rather see two Muslim men holding hands than holding guns.”

Speaking in light of the recent terrorist attacks, these are the words of one of the few openly gay Muslim men, who is planning to marry his partner this month.

In what’s believed to be the first same-sex marriage involving a Muslim, Jahed Choudhury, of Darlaston, has been shunned by his family and friends for being gay.

The 24-year-old will marry his 19-year-old partner, Sean Rogan, on June 22, after living together for the past 18 months.

The couple first met when Mr Rogan came across a distraught Mr Choudhury crying on a bench in Darlaston.

Mr Choudhury added: “I’d not long overdosed and I was crying on a bench and Sean came over and asked if I was okay. He gave me hope at one of my lowest points and he’s stood by me all the way.”

Growing up with Bangladeshi parents and two brothers and one sister in a traditional Muslim household, Mr Choudhury said: “I was always the black sheep in my family, I stood out like a sore thumb.

“I never liked football, I preferred watching fashion shows on TV. I remember feeling trapped.

“When I was about eight or nine I realised something was wrong and I told my mum everything, my dad got angry at the time.

“I didn’t understand what it was, but it was ingrained into me that being gay was wrong.

“I was taken into the headteacher at primary school who said it’s our secret and it was left at that, I wasn’t allowed to talk about it again.”

Mr Choudhury then went to Darlaston Community Science College where he claims he was repeatedly bullied.

He said: “It went all over school, people would spit on me, empty the rubbish bins on me, call me pig and the Muslim people would shout ‘harum’ – which is a very nasty insult in my language.”

According to Mr Choudhury the situation only got worse – he was assaulted by fellow Muslims in the street where he lived and ‘fag’ was sprayed on his front door. The mosque he had been attending for the 15 years no longer allowed him. Feeling ostracised, Mr Choudhury attempted to kill himself.

Mr Choudhury says he now has post traumatic stress disorder meaning he struggles to face people alone and cannot work.

He is now set to take a significant step forward for both the Muslim and LGBT communities when he gets married at Walsall Registry Office.

He added: “We’re going to have a big party in Darlaston afterwards and go to Spain for a week on holiday.

“I want to say to all people going through the same thing that’s it’s okay – we’re going to show the whole world that you can be gay and Muslim.”

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