By looking at me, not many people would realise the hardships I’ve had to face in my life.
When I decided I wanted to come out to the world, fear and denial were my most overarching emotions. Planning out the process and making myself believe I was actually going to do it made it easier to avoid because subconsciously I was terrified. The main thing was that I wanted to move away before I did it because ultimately, I couldn’t do it face to face. In the end, I ended up finally plucking up the courage to come out when I moved away and I did it by writing everything I wanted to say in letters. Sending these letters to my family was one of the most frightening experiences of my life but it was easier than having to do it face to face and dealing with the possible backlash.
Considering the fact I am a Bangladeshi-British citizen and considering the society I grew up in, it was not acceptable for me to be gay. In retaliation to me coming out, I was cut off and disowned by my family and exiled from the community I was raised in. After this period, I battled with ups and downs for a long time and felt that I had nobody I could relate to. As much as coming out is difficult for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, it was a lot harder for me considering the background I came from and the way I was brought up. I was at the lowest point of my life.
Instagram for me was an escape from reality after such a heavy period in my life. When I first started my social media platform, I didn’t understand the influence I could have over so many people and it’s still insane to think about. It was something I did for fun at the start and I didn’t realise it could become something more. At the beginning of my Instagram journey, I almost felt obliged to keep up a certain image and meet certain expectations. I felt as if I had to conform to fashion binaries and I wasn’t able to express who I was and my beliefs. I loved what I did and I still do, but back then I wasn’t able to express myself in the way I do now.
Fast forward to present day and myself and my social media are thriving. I’ve begun to focus on myself – accepting who I am and being comfortable in my sexuality. I’m no longer limiting myself to the normality and expectations of society. Who I am is not something that can be check-listed and I’m now able to express myself in ways I never felt like I could. I want this to relate to anyone out there who is struggling with their own sexuality and coming out. Know that you’re not alone and as hard as it is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Words by Syed Ahmed
Model and Words – Syed Ahmed @supremetosociety
Photographer – Hannah Furlong @hlfphotos
Stylist / Creative Director – Paolo Casseb @paolocasseb @paolodidthat
Grooming – David Lawrence @lawrencedj
Styling Assistant – Flossie Doherty @flossiedoherty
Location – Haya Studios @hayastudios
Image 1, 5, 9 – Full look: Patrick Church, Socks: Calvin Klein, Sneakers: Nike via OFFGRID
Image 2 – Jeans: Moschino
Image 3, 8 – Cropped Jacket: Almost Gods, Boxers: Calvin Klein, Jeans: MissPap x Alisha May (stylists own), Sneakers: Prada
Image 4 – Shirt: Letoit, Trousers: OAK, Glasses: Gentle Monster, Sneakers: Garment Project
Image 6: Full Look: Love Closely
Image 7 – Full Look: Patrick Church, Sneakers: Garment Project
Image 10 – Tank: Utierre by Oscar Utierre