Humza A. Mian is a 20-something year old Canadian with roots in Pakistan. I was born and raised in lovely Mississauga; a large city on the outskirts of Toronto. I’m a Registered Veterinary Technician who works in the downtown core, and before you ask “Awh, so you must love animals, right?” – yes, I do. When I’m not drawing blood, doing radiographs, performing dental prophylaxis’, monitoring anesthesia, and being vomited/defecated/urinated (sometimes more than one of these at once…) on by animals, I enjoy drawing (human portraits in particular), dressing up in drag, doing makeup, partaking in local events, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends (aka people who can tolerate me for more than 30 minutes).
Being raised in a Muslim household as a gay male has taught me so much about life and love. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any gay Desi men in my life (or in the media) who were out and open to look up to. I hope that by YOU reading this blog, you’ll feel at ease knowing that it does get better (cliché, I know) and realizing that there is a huge network of people out there just like you. Transparency can save lives and that’s why Ryan and I are doing this. We can be that somebody for someone else, that we didn’t have growing up.
Ryan Persadie is a 23 year old musician, certified teacher and graduate student completing his masters in Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. Like Humza, I was born in Mississauga, Ontario however, largely operate out of Downtown Toronto. Born to a Portuguese-Canadian mother and Indo-Trinidadian father, my bi-racial identity was often confusing in my pursuit to find a space where I belonged. I was often left with many questions that only became more confusing when I came to terms with my queerness. Very frequently, I felt that I was too white for the brown people and too brown for the white people I interacted with. As a teacher and researcher, I am wholly devoted to social justice education and activism, especially within LGBTQ communities and racialized minorities. Now, as I learn the tools of the trade of drag artistry, it is my hope that both Humza and I can shed light on some experiences we carry as queer people of colour. Often times, it was difficult to see myself in representations of queerness (QPoC and racialized LGBTQ people) in popular culture (with the exception of Mama Ru herself of course) and while I cannot speak for others, it makes me very excited that I can share my voice in hopes of benefiting the experience of those, especially who are QPoC, who are often forgotten and ignored in LGBTQ spaces.
As a side note, I also run an instagram fan blog for my faaaavourite queen of all time, Nina Flowers. If you love her as much as I do, follow us @TeamLOCAAAA!
If you’re interested in my academic work, my music research mostly revolves around Caribbean music and sexuality, soca fetes, queerness in Caribbean spaces (especially within North American diaspora), and drag culture. If you want to read some of my work, please check out my Academia website! I also conduct workshops and presentations on queer pedagogy, culturally responsive pedagogy, multicultural models of music education, equity and social justice and the intersections of ethnomusicology and music education. 🙂