Name: Siamak (Sia) Badie
Fav thing about your city: I love being able to walk wherever I want to go! Public transit exhausts me.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself: I prefer bananas to be green when I eat them. Yellow is no bueno for me - too sweet.
Why is ending the stigma important to you?
I was raised in a family where taboo topics were rare. Some people find it interesting that I came out as gay to my parents before any of my friends. I knew that I could open up to my parents and be accepted, because I had grown up with such a solid support system. Similarly, years later, I knew I could "come out" to my parents about the panic attacks I had been having, and they were able to sit down with me and guide me to the resources I didn't know I needed.
I recognize how lucky I am to have this support system, and even with it, I still seem to run into stigma more often than not. To me, stigma begins with the difference in perception between physical health and mental health. The fact that "I'm going to see my dermatologist" garners a different reaction than "I'm going to see my psychiatrist" is due to stigma. Similarly, "I take this pill every day to manage my acne" is more widely accepted than "I take this pill every day for my schizophrenia". The brain is just another organ (a super complicated one!!) that may need taking care of from time to time, and that's okay. My general rule is "if it doesn't make sense to say about a physical illness, it doesn't make sense to say about a mental illness". This actually stems from my philosophy about questions I get about being gay: "if it doesn't seem appropriate to ask a straight person, it's probably not appropriate to ask someone who isn't straight".
What does your every day look like?
I'm going to be honest here and say that if I can sleep in, I will sleep in. And none of this "9:30A.M., wow I slept in!" business.
I'm currently working at a community pharmacy as a pharmacy student, so pretty much all of my day is spent talking to people about their health, which I love! Whether it's prescription or non-prescription medication, I try to provide the same level of care for all people. After work, it's a toss up between Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Once Upon a Time, and Pokemon. I've been trying to practice what I preach per se, so I try to eat healthy and exercise whenever possible so that when I tell patients to maintain a "healthy diet and lifestyle" I can truly understand the work that goes into it.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Imagine the following in a loud voice with clapping to emphasize each syllable: "DITCH. YOUR. TOXIC. FRIENDSHIPS."
As an insecure, slightly chubby, closeted gay teenager, I clung to comfort and convenience. I wouldn't push back if I was pushed (metaphorically or otherwise), I wouldn't talk back if I was insulted, and I wouldn't speak up if I was being bullied. All of these bottled up emotions led to me coming out later than I would have liked, and therefore being the truest version of myself later than I liked. This is something that I have a hard time explaining to people, especially those who have never been in the closet. Remembering life before coming out honestly seems like trying to remember stories about another person, and it's not pleasant for me to think about because it doesn't feel like it was me.
Who is a Role Model to you?
Oh, without a doubt Hermione Granger. At first she was mocked for being bookish, and eventually she was revered and depended on for being smart. But throughout her entire adolescence she was smart and stuck to her guns. I wish I had grown into my Granger-ness as soon as she did. Hermione didn't compromise her values or morals for anyone (even teachers!). Also she performed 'Obliviate' on a Death Eater in a coffeeshop on Tottenham Court Road based on THEORY. Can you do that? I can't. Hermione is awesome. I also appreciate how she was never "pretty, but smart" or "thin, and intelligent". I always liked how her intelligence began the character description.
How do you spend your Self-Care Sunday?
Self-Care Sunday is incredibly important to me because I never fail to have a Moody Monday. Throughout the academic year I find it difficult to stay caught up on TV shows, so my summer Self-Care Sundays are being spent Netflix and Chill-ing. If left to my own devices, I honestly think I'm a very plain (or rather, simple) person. Sleeping in, making my own food, and lying on a couch are the staples of a Sia Self-Care Sunday.
Photos by Lucy Li