In 2015, Jahed Choudhury, 24, was crying on a bench and contemplating suicide when a kind stranger asked him if he was alright. The stranger was Sean Rogan, 19, and he very well may have saved Jahed’s life. The two men have been inseparable ever since that chance encounter and they recently got married.
Jahed grew up in Darlaston in the U.K. and struggled with being a homosexual Muslim for most of his life. While gay people of all faiths have dealt with persecution, homosexuality within the Muslim community is even more controversial. The taunting and bullying he endured was the reason he was sitting on that bench in tears when Sean found him.
“I’d not long overdosed and I was crying on a bench and Sean came over and asked if I was okay,” Jahad told The Express and Star. “He gave me hope at one of my lowest points and he’s stood by me all the way.” Within a week of meeting each other, they moved in together, and Jahed proposed on Sean’s birthday last June.
Jahed and Sean, as well as several news outlets, are reporting the couple’s union as Britain’s first gay Muslim same-sex wedding. Jahed and Sean dressed in traditional Bangladeshi attire for the ceremony, which was held at the registry office in Walsall, U.K.
“I just hope other gay Muslims see this as well,” Jahed told Express and Star. “And they know that they’ve got support from other gay people,” added Rogan.
Jahed had a hard time identifying as a homosexual within the Muslim community. He admits he tried everything he could to change his sexual identity. He even tried having a girlfriend, going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and taking medication. “I stood out like a sore thumb – I never liked football, I preferred watching fashion shows on TV. I remember feeling trapped,” he said.
Jahed was also bullied horribly because of his sexual orientation. “It went all over school, people would spit on me, empty the rubbish on me, call me pig and the Muslim people would shout ‘harum’ – which is a very bad insult in my language,” Jahed said.
Jahed said that he struck a low point when he was physically attacked by fellow Muslims and was kicked out mosque he had been attending for 15 years. After these events, Jahed tried to kill himself. But meeting Sean helped Jahed accept his sexual identity.
The couple had a lovely ceremony and everyone was very supportive. “It was lovely for both our families to be there. We got on really well,” Jahed said. “It was just close friends and family who were invited as I did not want a bi wedding. It was just perfect the way it was.”
As you can expect, the couple did receive some backlash after their wedding. “We have had death threats against us and our families,” Jahed said. “People telling me they are going to kill me and that I should never have been born. They are really vile, horrible comments. But we are so happy we are able to just brush them off. We’ve had an awful lot of support too.”
Sean is even considering converting to Islam for Jahed. The couple is concerned about where they would worship though and said, “We would not be welcomed by any mosques” in the U.K. They also mentioned that there is a liberal mosque in Berlin that allows gay worshipers, but that they wish that something like that existed in the U.K.