The meaning of Manhood
Book featuring personal stories of 45 men to launch Sunday
Shane Cupid vividly remembers growing up in foster care.
“It was like hell,” said the 24-year-old, recalling how he used to talk to himself all the time because there was no one else to converse with.
“To think that everybody else was outside having fun while you’re just locked up in the room, it was so hard. I would cry at night.”
Years later, Cupid has channelled his own tumultuous childhood into efforts to help youth in Toronto.
He works as a summer camp counsellor and was part of the youth committee at last year’s Pan Am Games.
He is one of 45 Toronto men whose personal stories are shared Manhood, a new book exploring contemporary masculinity and touching on themes like sex, strength and identity.
For Cupid, sharing his story is a way to find himself and create a better life, something he hopes can serve as a lesson for other young men.
“The challenge is always to try and not be my past, but be a better future,” he said. “Don’t let all that bad stuff get to you.”
Zamani Thomas wrote the book’s introduction, and he hopes the project will encourage youth to look past traditional ideas about manhood and masculinity.
“There’s this belief that showing a softer side for men is a sign of weakness,” he said.
Thomas worked with youth across Toronto for the project, and said it was a challenge to get them to open up. Those who did shared stories about experiencing racism, being bullied, beating cancer, wrongful incarceration and more.
“Their stories are so powerful it’s like an explosion,” he said.
Manhood’s official launch takes place Sunday at Daniels Spectrum on Dundas Street East.
Zamani thomas, left, and Shane cupid are among 45 toronto youth who shared their personal stories in Manhood, a book exploring topics such as sex, strength and identity for young men.