We must keep fighting for LGBTQIA liberation


Pride season is about love, it’s about seeing a mother walk with her child in a parade wearing a t-shirt saying “Free Mum Hugs For Everyone.” The first time I saw that, it made me cry because so many people in our community don’t have that. They don’t have a family to support them, so we become their family.

Growing up as a queer person I’ve had my share of homophobic abuse, but the last place I expected to experience it was at a wedding—a place to celebrate love. 

This experience inspired me to write a song called Love Is Love with George Hervé and Ashley Jana. It’s a conversation to the main aggressor, the conversation I wish I had the strength to have at the time.

They say we have three responses to a perceived threat: fight, flight or freeze. I’ve always thought of myself as a fighter, someone who stands up for what I believe in and won’t have my voice silenced… but in that moment I froze. It felt like the walls were closing in, and I tried my best to be polite and make myself small.

The stares, the hostility, the interrogation such as; “It’s not normal. You make me feel uncomfortable. Who’s the man? Who wears the strap on?”. Showing backs when we spoke.

It was an awful experience I’m sure many people within our community can relate to. I spoke to my cousin about the event, she said: “Sometimes we hold on to our strength.” 

I totally get that now. I’m using my strength for something way bigger than me, small as I was then, that experience was a gift, it reminded me the fight against all types of queerphobia still exists and as a singer I have a responsibility to use my voice for good. Music transcends the things that divide us like borders, sexuality, gender and race, and instead brings us together.

There are still countries where LGBTQIA people have little to no legal rights and my heart breaks for those people. As a British-Iranian queer female I’m privileged to live in a country where I can sing freely, dance in the street and love who I want. Though all of these things are true, there are still times I feel I need to be invisible. 

Homophobia doesn’t just affect queer people; it affects straight people too. Homophobic slurs are used as weapons to shame and belittle, from children in playgrounds not fitting stereotypes to women in clubs turning down the attention of a man. We’ve come so far yet there are still mountains to climb.

It’s been a cathartic process sharing my story and hearing other people’s stories. What’s filled me with gratitude is seeing how many allies have come together to help bring this song to life – to support this message and our community.

After sharing my story with the filmmaker Amber Amare, she offered to shoot a music video, giving her time for free. A true ally turning up on the day wearing an intersex pride pin.

It was an emotional day; I remember stopping and looking around at all the people, the cast, crew, my mum and friends recreating something traumatic yet seeing nothing but beauty, feeling nothing but pride. 

It was a beautiful moment captured in time, people from all walks of life coming together to shine a light on homophobia. That’s the power of music, you can take something painful and turn it into something powerful.

Music has the power to change anything, love doesn’t discriminate, it holds no bounds, that’s why I wrote Love Is Love.

Click below to stream to the single.

Keep up with Zahra Deljoui at www.zahradeljoui.com. Also on: Twitter @ZahraDeljoui, Instagram @zahradeljouimusic, and TikTok @zahradeljoui.

DIVA magazine celebrates 29 years in print in 2023. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQIA media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.