Over the years, Irish singer-songwriter Hozier’s soulful lyrics have attracted a huge international following, but none have been more vocal than his lesbian fans. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Hozier responded to listeners calling him their “favorite lesbian,” saying “It’s a wonderful thing.”
Hozier has long been an LGBTQ+ advocate. The music video for his first single, 2013’s “Take Me to Church,” depicted the story of two gay lovers who are attacked by a mob, taking its inspiration from the prevalence of anti-gay violence in Russia. The song launched Hozier’s career, becoming Spotify’s most-streamed song of that year.
More recently, Hozier performed in the Love Rising benefit concert alongside other celebrity musicians and drag queens, protesting the criminalization of public drag performance in Tennessee. “The fact that there’s armed militias…It’s alarming how quickly, and just how extreme it’s gotten,” he said, referring to the rise of militant transphobia on the right.
“It is alarming how much it’s changed in the last 10 years. It is truly alarming,” he continued. “I even think back to the Seventies or Eighties. There’s armed militias outside drag shows, in certain parts of the country. It’s terrifying. This is not just an American phenomenon. What’s hanging over that threat is a threat of an impending pogrom.”
But even though Hozier’s music does not shy away from difficult subject matter like this, it is also a source of joy for fans. Trans writer Charlie H Stern pointed out that many diverse minority groups have described his music as relatable, even fostering escapism. Part of that has to do with “an absence of ‘maleness’” in his music.
Considering that idea, Hozier responded, “I’m not unaware of the fact that it’s a slightly different male voice. It’s one that’s grounded in tenderness, absolutely, and grounded in love.”
All of this has led to his substantial queer following. While Hozier is not active on social media, he was overjoyed at the idea that queer women identify with him. “It’s a wonderful thing to hear. I really appreciate that. I’m glad,” he said. “I take a step away from social media at times. In the same way that negative things about yourself are hard to hear, it’s hard to hear also, sometimes, the positive things that can be said about you. You scarcely believe them yourself. It’s a remarkably high standard to be held in.”
But Hozier wants his music to do more for people—to help them find themselves. “I hope the music has space there and people find their home in it and it brings some joy,” he said. “That’s all music has ever done for me. I’ve found myself in it. And I have found my warrant within it and a warrant for myself. In music, I have found… permission for myself to be myself, you know what I mean?”