Hozier expertly explains why ‘acts of solidarity’ are so vital for the LGBTQ+ community

Alt rock sensation and unwavering LGBTQ+ ally Hozier explains why the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is 'never really over'. (Getty)

Alt rock sensation and unwavering LGBTQ+ ally Hozier has eloquently explained why the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is “never really over”.

The Irish singer-songwriter, full name Andrew John Hozier-Byrne, has long shown up for the LGBTQ+ community, from the release of his 2013 gay rights anthem “Take Me To Church” and consistently speaking out for trans rights, to becoming a certified sapphic icon with his gorgeous portrayal of femininity in his music.

In March, the award-winning artist attended Tennessee’s LGBTQ+ benefit “Love Rising” alongside musicians such as Hayley Williams and Maren Morris to denounce the cruel anti-drag bills being rolled out state and nationwide.

After dropping his latest “entrancing” studio album Unreal Unearth on Friday (18 August), Hozier spoke with Variety about why the battle for LGBTQ+ rights has never been more important and how he ended up in Tennessee’s major city Nashville, at the heart of the queer retaliation.

Hozier performing.
Hozier has consistently stood in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. (Getty Images)

“The anti-drag bills just in legislation terms were really, really incredibly reactionary and quite ill-defined, and regressive in a massive way,” he explained.

Conservative US states such as Tennessee, Montana and Alabama have all attempted to ban public performances of drag in recent months, prompting uproar from drag queens, celebrities and the wider LGBTQ+ community.

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“When we don’t stand up for our values as citizens in a democracy, when you don’t show up in acts of solidarity, the boulder really rolls down the hill very fast,” Hozier continued. “I’m always staggered at how quickly that happens or can happen.

“A lot of these fights are never really over, you know? Every generation is going to have to pick up their own fight and their own pushback when it comes to stuff like this.”

The drag bans come amid rising anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and sentiment across the US and UK. This has led to vile attacks on the trans community and threatened already hard-won rights such as same-sex marriage equality.

It’s why Hozier was driven to attend the “Love Rising” benefit and defend the community against this backwards slide on LGBTQ+ rights. He explained how he initially got involved as a close friend to one of the organisers, queer musician Allison Russell, saying he “made sure that I was able to get back”.

Allison Russell (L) performs with Hozier (R) at Love Rising benefit.
Allison Russell (L) performs with Hozier (R) at the Love Rising benefit. (Getty)

“Apart from just wanting to show up for the queer and gay community in Nashville, I’m always staggered at how fast in the last 10 years, let’s say, we’ve gone from a place where these discussions weren’t an issue whatsoever,” he added.

“You know, drag has existed for a long, long time and trans people have existed for centuries, but it’s incredible in the last 10 years just how much they have been scapegoated.

“You’re talking about a tiny percentage of the population, so little gestures of support and solidarity like that, if they can go a long way, for me it is just important to show up for them.”

Needless to say, the “From Eden” singer does not underestimate the importance of his platform.

In a recent interview, he shared how there’s “always been space in [his] work for [his] conscience” and he sees LGBTQ+ people being used as a “scapegoat” by “political leaders” when “things get difficult”.

Unreal Unearth is available to stream on Spotify now.