Jahed Choudhury, 24, grew up being ostracized for his sexuality. Raised in a traditional Bangladeshi Muslim family that views being gay as taboo, he remembers always being the "black sheep." He was banned from his mosque, and other Muslim boys attacked him and sprayed "fag" on his front door. He was even forced to go on a religious pilgrimage.
"I stood out like a sore thumb — I never liked football, I preferred watching fashion shows on TV. I remember feeling trapped," he said, reports The Telegraph U.K. "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."
The situation got so bad that he once tried to kill himself. He was crying on a bench in his town of Darlaston, U.K., when Sean Rogan, now 19, approached him. "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," Choudhury said.
Rogan and Choudhury recently became the first same-sex couple in the U.K. to wed in a Muslim ceremony. Their wedding was held at the Walsall registry office, and they wore traditional Muslim attire.
The couple said they want their wedding to help open minds. "It's not wrong...and it's not a phase...I've known I was gay since I was 6, but I never came out to my parents 'til I was 16," Rogan explained in the video below.
Choudhury, who says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the years of discrimination and abuse, says he hopes their wedding will help normalize being a gay Muslim.
"This is about showing people I don't care. My family...think it's a disease and can be cured, some of my family still call it a phase," said Choudhury. "I want to say to all people going through the same thing that it's okay — we're going to show the whole world that you can be gay and Muslim."