Midland Born Jahed Choudhury is the UK’s first muslim to celebrate his gay marriage.
Jahed met his partner Sean Rogan back in 2015 outside of an Asda. The 24-year-old had just come out of hospital following a drug overdose and was crying on a public bench. Jahed said their first meeting, “was outside Asda of all places. He came up to me and asked if I was OK. I thought he was my guardian angel. I had been crying privately to myself, although I was screaming inside.”
Jahed had suffered at the hands of his school and local community for being gay. He recounted, “I knew I was gay at about six or seven, but I was taught it was wrong so I just kept it hidden.” Taunting at school included name-calling and even having rubbish bins tipped over him.
It is not uncommon gay muslims, and even Sikhs and Hindus, to be ostracised from their local communities. News of Jahed’s marriage has since caused a storm among Muslim communities, with many asking if being Muslim and gay is even compatible. There are those who believe that by expressing their true gay selves, they are going against the God they claim to believe in, whilst others argue that God made them and that Muslims should be free to love who they wish in accordance with changing times.
As for Jahed, on top of the on-going school bullying, it was his own community that was yet another source of pain and anger. He was assaulted by fellow Muslims in the street, calling ‘pig’, ‘harum’ and ‘fag.’ He was even turned away from his local mosque. Jahed added, “My family… think it’s a disease and can be cured, some of my family still call it a phase. 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.”
However it wasn’t too long ago that Jahed himself was questioning whether it was right to commit to his true feelings. “I did anything to try and change how I felt,” he said. “I prayed, I read the Koran and went to pilgrimage.”
“I thought it was wrong and was being told Satan had got to me.”
Jahed left the UK and moved abroad for a few years in order to get a fresh start. He made new friends, took medication and asked Muslim teachers pray for him. When it proved futile, mental health took its grip. He officially came out in 2012 and had support from his mother and other family members, but it was still one of the most trying periods in his life. Until he met Rogan.
Upon meeting outside the Asda, Rogan took Jahed to the cinema to cheer him up. It led to a friendship and later, an even stronger bond. The two were wed two years later at the Walsall Register Office. The two both wore traditional Muslim wedding attire.
In order to encourage and support other gay muslins, Jahed, who suffers from PTSD from his struggles, set up a Youtube channel and so far his Coming Out Story has been viewed over five thousand times. “My religion will never change. God’s in my heart. My mother tells me ‘God made you like this – you have love for God’.”