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Amrou Al-Kadhi: ‘I’m proud of all the things the world taught me to be ashamed of’

The writer and performer opens up about their non-binary identity and queerness in Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi.

By Thomas Stichbury

Amrou Al-Kadhi, or Glamrou, has unveiled their secret weapon in life: defiantly being themselves.

Bringing Attitude’s Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi, to a close, the writer and performer opens up about how they embraced their non-binary identity and queerness.

“As queer people, especially as queer people of colour, we’re taught to make ourselves small and feel ashamed of who we are. I definitely had that my entire life growing up… feeling ashamed for my desires and what I was thinking,” Amrou says.

They continue: “I try to live my life being proud of all the things the world taught me to be ashamed for: proud of my femininity, of my colour, of my non-binary identity, of my otherness.”

“I feel there is a great sense of power and armour and strength in being defiantly myself. Pride is my weapon,” Amrou maintains, adding with a smile, “My second weapon…”

The self-proclaimed professional unicorn – who released their debut novel Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen last year – goes on to share their favourite Pride memory, where their cultural heritage and queerness unexpectedly entwined.

“My most cherished Pride experience was in 2018 at Black Pride,” Amrou recalls. “I heard this Arabic song playing in the corner in the lawn. I was like, this is strange because it was a song I had only heard back in the Middle East and definitely not within queer spaces.”

“I went to check it out and there in front of me was this tent called ‘Pride of Arabia,’ which was this collection for queer Arabs,” they exclaim. “I was listening to a song from my childhood, but I was able to dance to it as a queer adult.”

Amrou, 30, adds: “It was my past, present and future melded together in a singular moment. It was so cohesive. I felt so healed that I was able to blend my heritage with my queer identity.”

Attitude’s columnist also wanted to express his love for his chosen family and the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.

“I don’t really have a [biological] family that I feel safe in. For me, I do just have a queer family,” Amrou explains.

“The community is just a place where we constantly lift each other up. There is deep love there, even for people we don’t know, or people who came before us, or after us.”

“There is a kinship that I feel privileged to be a part of,” they smile.

Stonewall co-founder Michael Cashman, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, LGBTQ activist Bisi Alimi, TV host Michelle Visage and ‘Drag Race’ superstar Courtney Act also took part in Pride Heroes, supported by Taimi.

Watch on and YouTube.