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‘Today, I’m Proud Of Who I Am’: Gay Polish Celeb Trainer To Host Boot Camp In Tolerant Malta

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Poland’s most popular personal trainer is coming to Malta to host an exciting boot camp in November. Malta’s tolerant LGBTIQ+ laws and accepting culture will come as a breath of fresh air, as the trainer has struggled with the lack of LGBTQI+ rights in Poland.

Qczaj is planning to seek sun, sea and endorphins away from grey and rainy Poland with a joint training programme in Malta. With everyday training, the programme is “a step in the right direction for absolutely everyone”.

The camp will take place from 6th to 13th November 2021 at the db Seabank Resort & Spa in Mellieħa.

“Apart from training, there is also time for personal development and dancing with Polish dancer Paulina Biernat. And, of course, there will also be time to rest and lie down on the beach.”

Qczaj’s intriguing past

Poland’s most popular personal trainer infects people with his smile and positive energy, and became an internet sensation in 2017.

But it wasn’t always that easy.

After Qczaj’s parents left for the United States, he was cared for by his grandmother. His dad, grandmother and grandfather were alcoholics, and his dad was violent towards Qczaj’s mum.

Like his family members, Qczaj also struggled with addictions himself, both to alcohol and steroids.

Having struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life, he wasn’t a happy child.

“I had to go to school and pretend everything was fine. I cried on the pillow and yelled at God asking why this happened to me, then I went out to the children and played hide and seek with them.”

On top of that, he fell victim to a pedophile. Last year, he decided to share his story in the hopes to protect youths in similar situations.

“I was seven or eight years old, sitting in the bathtub shaking with fear, and the air still smelled of car lubricants, paints, alcohol, cigarettes and sweat. Crying in pain, I silently washed away what I wouldn’t wash away for the rest of my life – but I don’t know it yet, because I was only seven years old.”

He continued: “I was a child, sitting in the bathtub, washing off the smell of a pedophile that extinguished my childhood just like a cigarette butt is put out on the ground.”

The offender was a family friend who went to church every week, and it wasn’t a one-off incident – the abuse lasted for several years.

Moving out & away

“There was alcohol and violence in my environment. I wanted to become independent as soon as possible.”

At just 16 years old, Qczaj left for Kraków to attend a high school with a focus on theatre, but it didn’t get easier. His peers didn’t accept him and insulted him, calling him names like ‘faggot’.

Suicidal thoughts regularly occurred during these times.

“I remember sitting on the edge of the Twardowski Rocks, realising I was only one step away from total freedom. I felt so dirty, lonely and unloved. I hated myself for everything, including failing my mother with the truth about my sexual orientation.”

However, he managed to audition at the Buffo Theatre in Warsaw. He was accepted and performed there for three years.

He then went to the US, where he worked on a construction site and discovered how much he liked physical work and sports. He participated in bodybuilding competitions, and also worked as a hairdresser for more than a decade.

His rise to fame

After he quit, he started focusing on his training. His workouts appeared online in 2017, and Polish women were crazy about him.

From then on, it went upwards. But Qczaj still struggles with the lack of LGBTQ rights in Poland, having revealed that he would love to be a dad.

As a gay couple, he and his partner cannot have a child in Poland.

“I would like to give some little child a better start in life, which I did not have myself, a love that, as a child, I did not experience from my father. But in our country somehow we prefer a child dying in an orphanage due to lack of love, or being beaten by their parents.”

He said that hopefully one-day things will change, and he would like to be able to walk on the street hand-in-hand with his partner. “He is a huge support for me and he tries to understand me. My love for him gains strength with experience. And, most importantly, I can be myself with him.”

Earlier this year he took a stance for the LGBTQ community against the conservative Polish government, turning down an attractive offer from Polish state television broadcaster TVP to host a training programme.

“The offer is a compliment, but to perform there you have to be camouflaged gay – something I’m not prepared to do.”

Turning trauma into strength

Therapy helped Qczaj to deal with his difficult past. “I have been going to therapy for several years and I am not ashamed of it. On the contrary, I am proud that after so many years of lonely struggle with the demons of the past, I have matured to the decision to start therapy and seek professional help,” he said.

Sharing his troublesome yet inspiring personal story, he said:

“Today, proud of who I am, I stand in truth with you and with myself. If this truth helps at least one person, will free them from feeling guilty, save at least one life, it means that everything makes sense.”

Despite his turbulent past, Qczaj currently seems to be where he is happiest: with his loved one, doing what he’s passionate about for a living.

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READ NEXT: ‘I’ve Been Grabbed, Surrounded And Groped’: When Catcalling In Malta Turns Far Darker

Belle dives deep into seas and stories. She’s passionate about mental health, environmental sustainability and social justice. When she’s not out and about with her dog, she’s more than happy to hear from you.

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