Khakan & Trevor

Khakan & Trevor


Ages: 48 & 69
FROM: BIrmingham
OCCUPATIONS: Support workER and retired
RELIGION: muslim & christian

@khakanqureshi / @brumsasianslgbt
Photos by: Lina Maryam Karuvetil / @linakaruvetil


“I’m South Asian British Muslim and he’s White, Church of England, and when I met him he was 43 and I was 22, at the height of the HIV/AIDs crisis and section 28. When I was coming out, we couldn’t talk about being gay or talk about anything at all, I had that to contend with that and also my father was one of the founding members of Birmingham Central mosque, so I experienced a lot of religious guilt.”


“After London, when I went to back to Birmingham, my mum was beginning to talk about marriage, ‘Shall we look for a suitable bride for you?’. That was kind of giving me some form of conflict. Do I appease my parents, respect them and do what they ask me to do or do I follow my heart, my own feelings and make my own journeys?”


“I met this chap on an audition one day and we exchanged addresses, you know obviously this is the time before mobiles. He introduced me to Trevor on the second day. I said to myself, ‘This man wouldn’t hurt a fly’. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but something happened. I wanted to get to  know him more. He was really shy and really polite; we made plans to meet the next evening and then it just went on for 6 months.”

Khakan on his parents finding out:

“Things came to a head one evening, I’ve always been honest with my mom. One evening things came to a head and I came out to my mother. It was quite an emotional evening. I tell everybody that the words that came out of her mouth were really strong, positive and powerful to me:”

If I cant share in your happiness, what kind of mum would I be.
— Khakan's Mum

“My father was really negative, very hostile. He made very homophobic and insulting comments, both parents shifted blame on each other. I didn’t know how to handle this and I kind of had to step away for a year.”


“One evening, my father rang and said you need to come around, and that’s when he said that it doesn’t matter what anybody says. Both of my parents in their own ways, came to terms, especially with the fact that I had someone. I think they had this vision that I was living in some kind of run down flat somewhere and maybe the person Im with is trying to corrupt me. It was a couple of years later that Trevor actually said that it’s time you invite your parents around.

Initially, we said they should come to the house and then meet Trevor, at a later date. We laugh about it now, but that day, Trevor was about to leave the flat when they came – they bumped into each other at the door. So there was no choice, he had to come back in. Everyone got on really well. They thought we had a beautiful home. They offered a lot of compliments.”

“Though they seemed accepting earlier on, with my siblings, they said things over the year that made me think twice - I’ve had to live with that. Their prejudices are their issues.

With my two sisters, when my mum was ill, they at one point put the blame on me: who I was and my doings. You cant place diabetes on my doings. They seemed to be pretty liberal but they made me feel bad for being me.

There were periods in my life where I had to just look away. My mum would ask why do you not talk to your two sisters anymore and I could never really tell her why.

When mum passed away, 8 years ago, I faced some financial difficulties. I went to one of my brothers for financial support and he wasn’t forthcoming. The real reason came out, he said it in a round about way, that to way to resolve your financial issues is to sell up your house and go your separate ways (from Trevor).

At that point we had been together for 20 years. That really rocked me.  I chose to step away from the family.”

My mother said to him on her death bed that you were the best thing that happened to my son.
— Khakan

“I did reconnect with my sister last year and that’s been nice. Her parents-in-law in the early years questioned our relationship and alleged my partner was a pedophile. My eldest brother-in-law, when we thought he was on his deathbed, said give up your relationship, and if you don’t, you’ll die like a dog in a gutter. That type of prejudice was there within the boundary of the family. It hurt the most.”


“I was in doubt of having or starting the relationship as I knew there were cultural issues involved, the pressure to get married, the taboos about being homosexual, and the age gap. The fact Khakan was South Asian didn’t really come into the equation, until one or two friends kept highlighting it in a derogatory manner.”

“Trevor said to me that, ‘with your culture I understand. So if you need to end things I understand, if you need to go marry someone then…’, he was being understanding but that’s not going to happen.”

The very forms of discrimination, brought us closer. The loss, of my parents, the financial difficulties and more were all make or break situations. It brought us tighter together and I realised that he is truly my soulmate.
— Khakan

“In 2010, somebody said you really went all out. You broke all the taboos. You’re interfaith, interracial, intergenerational… he’s not similar to yourself -he’s a skinhead, he’s got tattoos, he smokes.”


“I used to be very self-conscious and anxious about what people thought and said about our relationship. I lacked confidence to speak up and used to shy away from any form of confrontation. My family were very accepting of Khakan, but it was the reaction of his family which bothered me – how they would react or respond to us being together, if it would be positive or negative.

I still carried residual issues from my own childhood and teen years, when being gay was illegal and there was a lot of prejudice, stigma and discrimination around homosexuality, so I like to think I understood where Khakan was coming from when he met me and we discussed our commonality . Over the years, we supported each other and I learnt from Khakan, who is years younger than me, how to be a more confident as an openly gay man.”



T: I am, I have OCD


T: Initially it was Khakan but I think we’re on par now


T: Khakan used to be very romantic in the early years, but not anymore.

K: We’re much more pragmatic now and focus on practicalities in our lives.

T: We know each other very well now.

K: It’s not to say we rule out romance from our relationship. He sometimes surprises me with little gifts when I come home, and we celebrate each others’ birthdays and special occasions with giving three cards on the day - one in the morning, noon and night. We also spend time sitting on the sofa, watching TV and sometimes listening to music and reminiscing about the days when we used to go clubbing in our youth.


T: Me!

K: We’re both about the same. We’ve been told we’re a comedy duo!






T: The amount of time Khakan spends in the bathroom in the morning! I wonder what does he do for an hour as he doesn’t look any different to when he went in!

K: His obsession with cleanliness and not being able to finish one task before starting another.


T: Khakan’s honesty.

K: Trevor’s generosity. He helps anyone in need.


K: Perfectionist, stubborn, realist.

T: Reader, perfectionist… Drama Queen!  


T: Devotion

K: Unconditional