Interiors icon Kunal Trehan joins LGBT Foundation as their Patron and vows to make real change

Published: August 8, 2023 by jbeesocope

Acclaimed interior designer and TV personality Kunal Trehan (he/him) has been confirmed as the new patron of LGBT Foundation, where he promises to effect real change during his tenure.

Kunal – a proud gay man with an Asian heritage – has personally experienced the crushing prejudice that, sadly, still comes with coming out and has vowed to use his own life lessons to help vulnerable people who are facing the same issues.

The owner and founder of Manchester-based Touched Interiors and one of the newest stars of the cutting-edge BBC interior design show, Virtually Home, Kunal (39) will take up his post on the 25th of August, with his first official engagement taking place at Manchester Pride’s annual Pride Parade, which will see with tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ people and allies gathering to march through the city for equality.

LGBT Foundation operates on a national scale and provides invaluable advice, support and information to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. As part of Kunal’s new role, he will help to promote LGBT Foundation and the services they offer, as well as provide additional support to the charity’s infrastructure, including the provision of a complimentary interior design consultancy service for LGBT Foundation.

Kunal said: “I am so honoured to be one of the faces of the charity – it’s a community that I have so much love for and I am so proud to be a part of it, so it is a complete privilege to be involved on such a practical level.

“I am really excited to work collaboratively with LGBT Foundation to support those who are struggling. It can be a lonely place to come out, especially when there is a lack of support network behind you. I am looking forward to our working together to alleviate that sense of alienation and bring a sense of togetherness to those who are feeling alone.

“I’m looking forward to using this platform to make a real difference and create some positive noise about all that the LGBTQ+ community has to offer and celebrating its rich heritage, culture and influence far beyond Pride month.”

Kunal was raised in a loving Indian family, including his mum, dad and two sisters. He was raised in Wolverhampton, but it was upon his move to Manchester that Kunal truly discovered who he was. Kunal said: “The support and light I found personally within the community helped me to foster my sense of self and enabled me to have the security and the confidence to come out to my family, which could have carried some additional challenges for me, coming from an ethnic minority.

“My love for Manchester really stems from those early years of self-discovery and my continued admiration for the city I am proud to call home is reflected in the roots I have set down here: building my business and making a life here.”

Kunal’s family experiences have given him a unique insight into the challenges faced by some community members who are dealing with stigma from families from different cultures and walks of life. “I was extremely lucky”, Kunal explains. “My family are completely progressive, understanding and accepting of me and I am blessed with a wonderful relationship with my niece and nephew, having played a prominent role in their upbringings, which has been an absolute joy for me.

“My niece is bisexual and in a same-sex relationship, so when she faced similar diversity challenges, I was able to support her through that process.”

Kunal’s cultural experiences are just one of the reasons why he is passionate about giving back to the LGBTQ+ community.

“Having lived through the Manchester ‘scene’ for the last 16 years, I am fully aware of the hugely positive aspects of belonging to the LGBTQ+ community but it is also realistic to recognise the challenges and issues that some face and the potentially harmful situations they find themselves in.”

“I’ve seen first-hand, the issues that can come from getting caught up in the hedonistic side of the scene. The combination of negative influences; a lack of support and a struggle to adjust to some of the harsh realities of coming out, can create a really damaging environment for an individual and this is something that I want to work in partnership with LGBT Foundation to protect people from.”

Kunal lives in Cheshire with his fiancé of 13 years, Thomas. “I am so fortunate and blessed to have an amazing group of friends and family around me and have created a life where I feel fully protected, although this has not always been the case. However, I am fully aware that there are many people who do not have that luxury, which is why I want to work with the charity to make a difference. If I can help even one person to get through hardships in their life, which would be a huge success for me.”

Kunal vows that his role as patron won’t be a mere figurehead. “I have a profile thanks to the work I’ve done in the media, but I want to do more than just showboat. I want to make a real difference.”

Kunal’s successful interior design business has attracted international attention from a discerning clientele. “We provide a world-class service, so people seek me out to make their interior design dreams come true. Our consultancy is pretty unique and I work with artisans from across the globe to create bespoke interiors. This mixture of unyielding class, creativity and attention to detail has made my business a success but I am hungry to do more. To give back.”

As part of Kunal’s patronage, he has vowed to support a number of projects to develop them further for the people who need them most. Kunal is seeking to understand the depth of the issue of hate crime and support LGBT Foundation’s hate crime reporting.

Kunal said: “I’m looking to work closely with Greater Manchester Police to give people more protection and make them feel safer.”

“This is a huge area of interest for me. I want to see how complaints are handled and what happens to people who are reported. More importantly, I want to see what the journey is for those from the LGBTQ+ community who report these crimes and how better we can support them.”

Kunal has also pledged to provide mentorship to people who sign up to LGBT Foundation’s programmes. “Working on building confidence and self-esteem gives people some strong tools to successfully cope with some of the challenges that life throws our way”, Kunal explains. “I will also use my professional connections and skills to provide career mentoring to help people find their feet in their chosen careers. Having someone who knows the ropes and who has had some professional success can really help LGBTQ+ people to plan their futures and aspire to fulfil their potential.”

Kunal also plans to hold a fundraising benefit in 2023, to ensure that LGBT Foundation has the necessary funds to fulfil its mission.

Debra Nixon, Deputy Director of Self-Generated Income for LGBT Foundation, said“We are thrilled to have Kunal join us as our patron. Kunal is passionate about uplifting LGBTQ+ communities and raising awareness. As a confident speaker, he is acutely aware of the challenges and problems that people within the LGBT community face. We love his passion and the experience he brings to the position, which will no doubt benefit LGBT Foundation and our service users. We look forward to supporting Kunal through his patronage and helping him realise his vision with us.”

Leave Site Quickly