This month at Men of India we are celebrating Proud Indian Men. The last weekend in June Toronto will play host to World Pride. A celebration of diversity, acceptance, and equality for the LGBT community.  As Toronto has one of the largest populations of South Asian’s outside of India, we thought it would be appropriate to feature a Proud Canadian/Indian.

Please say hello to our Man of the Month for June Shazad….

As part of world pride, I am super honoured and excited to be selected to be Men of India’s Man of the Month. I’m a Canadian born Hyderabadi guy who likes guys. I feel it’s so important to be a face of the LGBTQ+ South Asian community simply because it shows that we exist and that it offers those perhaps closeted/and or isolated South Asians, that they are not alone.

I’m a gay men’s sexual health worker at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), where I facilitate a social support space for gay/bi/trans identified South Asian men called DOSTI  and I am also one of the founders of Rangeela: Canada’s largest Queer South Asian Party.

Besides doing work within the queer South Asian community both in community building and HIV prevention education, I’m fitness fanatic! I’ve competed in a few physique competitions and have recently begun personal training. My fascination with fitness came with my own body transformation.

My advice for those who are starting out on their journey to transform their bodies:

1. BE PROUD AND LOVE THE BODY YOU HAVE! While working towards the body you want! You are enough, unique, and have strengths in both body and personality. Find them, be proud of them, and wear them.

2. GIVE YOUR BODY TIME! Don’t rush your body or force it through any kind of unhealthy crash diets. It’s all about making slow and gradual changes over time, to find out what works for your body. This way your results will stay with you! It’s kind of like cramming for an exam the night before. You haven’t studied at all, you’re not familiar with the material, and you have one night to remember all these facts. When time comes to write the exam in the morning, your brain is overwhelmed with so much information (a lot you don’t understand), that you can’t remember enough for the exam. Take your time! Love and learn how how your body works!

3. GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT! If for example you didn’t lose ‘x’ amount of weight before a specific date. Maybe you did lose some weight! Good for you! The world isn’t going to end, so you have more time to lose more weight or build muscle and figure out how your body works (if the world was going to end – I have a feeling that the fact you didn’t lose 10 lbs would be the least of your concerns). Maybe you figured out what kinds of healthy foods you enjoy, and now your energy levels are up! YAY! Maybe you are just feeling better about yourself in general – both physically and mentally. Remember these things, be proud and celebrate them! These are all victories and there will be many more!

4. DON’T COMPARE the beginning of your journey to the middle of someone else’s!

In closing I would like to say a big thank you to Men of India for this opportunity and Andrew Adams for making me look pretty!

Connect with Shazad; Facebook: Twitter: @shazadhai Instagram: shazadhai


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