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Celebrating Ziam

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Article by: Unscattered Horizons Art by: jumbiart

April 25th is a very special day for Zayn and Liam. They’ve referenced it in their music, their style, their tattoos, and in other ways mentioned in the answers below. To celebrate them this April, I’ve reached out to the fandom, especially to the Ziams, to give an opportunity to share some of our favourite memories of them together, from the fans who have stuck by them through it all.

Where no credit is given, the individual asked to remain anonymous. All respondents have given consent for their answers to be shared and were given the option to provide their name and pronouns for credit.

Question: What moment or interaction made you a Ziam?

  • When they were playing with the 1D paper dolls  back in 2011 and Zayn kissed Liams doll and Liam looked so surprised yet intrigued.  – Anjori (she/her)
  • Fell down the Larry rabbit hole and noticed Ziam in the Larry proof vids. Started looking closer and was 😍 and 💔 to find that there were two closeted couples in one band – N9nnaDK
  • Ironically I became a fan when the “fiance wrapped” tweet happened and so I saw passionate fans explaining how the media situation wasn’t making sense and there was a false narrative. Meanwhile, Paynt by Zayn was pretty literally spelling out they were together, while fans and the general public chased tabloid stories and outrage.
  • I am new to it actually, but Zayn releasing PAYNT was my entryway. I was not a fan when he actually released it, but saw a tweet about it recently. There is no way this is a mere coincidence.
  • For me it wasn’t one moment but seeing all of the moments, even though there are some very near and dear to me. Like a lot of people I started as a Larry and I remember hearing about Ziam and reaching out to people in the fandom to learn as much as I could about them. Also just my perspective but because they were so overlooked and Larry was so focused on, looking at the parallels and similarities between the two couples really made not seeing Ziam as real an impossibility. – C
  • Zayn whispering brave when Lou was describing Liam – Sam
  • The interview with the Irish fella where Larry are on one side of the couch, Niall’s in the middle, as usual lol, and Ziam are on the other. Usually, everyone points out Harry getting possessive of Louis’ knee after the interviewer touches him, but someone told me to watch Liam and Zayn. They touch hands, Liam sniffs Zayn’s hair a few times, they’re leaning into one another, and I decided to look into it. I watched the Ziam timeline. It’s one of those things you can’t unsee, because it’s obvious after that. – Chelle
  • June 9, 2012 – The time Liam’s girlfriend came to a 1D concert and Zayn got so angry (jealous) that he ignored Liam for the majority of the concert even though Liam was making the cutest sad puppy dog eyes at him 🥺 – Avid
  • Zayn giving Liam a single red rose on stage and half bouncing half skipping away and Liam twirling around with giddy love energy. That type of excited, nervous full-body body language – you can’t fake it. – Gee (she/her)
  • Seeing how soft they were with each other and how they didn’t act like that around the other boys, similarly to how Larry acted. 
  • Ziam in miami and Ziam at a boxing match in Vegas
  • Too many to name – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • It’s hard for me to remember the first reason because it was so long ago, but I do distinctly remember the time that Liam pulled Zayn off stage to, um…have a private moment together before rejoining the rest of the band onstage to continue the concert. They clearly had no idea that the backstage area was being filmed. It was flannel and excitement and queer chaos, which reminds me so much of their early years. – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: What is your favourite Ziam song/lyric connection and why?

  • You and I because they went from two teen boys questioning/struggling with their sexuality to  boyfriends who figured it out. – Anjori (she/her)
  • I Won’t Mind, we found the one thing we can’t live without, and I’m not allowed to talk about it. Love is blind, right from the start, you know I got you.
  • ‘Cause we are who we are when no one’s watchin’ (I Won’t Mind, 2016) and ‘We are who we are when we’re alone’ (Tightrope, 2021). The similarity of the lyrics in songs 5 years apart written by Zayn are obviously about the same person. If you know the history of the songs, you know they aren’t about his stunts. It’s one of my favourites because it’s so obvious that it’s about one person who has been there since 1D days as Mind of Mine songs were written when Zayn was in 1D. – C
  • I have loved you since we were 18 – Sam
  • My favourite Ziam song is “You and I” for a number of reasons. 1. It was the 1st full 1D song that I heard. 2. Zayn singing it to Liam at his last show is one of my favourite Ziam moments. 3. I’m a Liam girl and he has the lyrics “I figured it out” tattooed. 4. I’m bi and following Ziam and helped me figure out my own sexuality. – Avid
  • I Don’t Mind (unreleased, written by Zayn during 1D) – “Don’t look around ’cause love is blind. And darling right now, I can’t see you. I’m feeling proud so without a doubt. I can feel you. ‘Cause we are who we are. When no one’s watching.” It’s such a tender, beautiful, bittersweet poem to a hidden love. And it captures the “eye” theme between Ziam – “I agree with Liam, eyes don’t lie, baby” / the eye rings they both used to wear in each other’s eye colours. – Gee (she/her)
  • Remember by liam, singing about playing at their hometown show together
  • You and I – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • I especially love Tightrope and River Road because they focus on a love that endures, one that’s long term, committed, and hard won. Each of Zayn’s albums has songs like Natural and Common that also follow this theme, but I feel like Nobody Is Listening really brought it to a new level of devotion. I also love the connections between Teardrops and What I Am (and I’m genuinely so proud of both songs on their own), and I can’t wait for both of their new albums this year! – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: What is your favourite Ziam moment? Could be anything: cute moments on stage; social media interaction; Ziami; etc.

  • The day they sat on the couch together with Liam above Zayn in a sweater, and Liam was big spooning Zayn and their hands brushed. All of the Cologne Germany day in September 2012, from them sharing a single couch seat, and Zayn having his arm around Liam’s shoulders, to Zayn laughing about Liam’s farts while sitting on the same bed.
  • Their recent Instagram interaction on Zayn’s Love Like This announcement post.
  • It’s hard to pick just one but to narrow it down, their interactions during You & I of always singing certain parts to each other, and also Ziami. Ziami was wild. – C
  • The airport moment (I’ll try but I’ll miss you too much Leeyum) – Sam
  • 1D Day interactions, how cute they were as baby boyfriends, and how obvious things are when pointed out. – Chelle
  • The time Liam sat in Zayn’s lap after a show – Liam has ADHD and is SUPER hyperactive (like me) and he is sitting in Zayn’s lap and constantly moving about like a spoiled toddler. Anyone else would be annoyed but Zayn barely notices because he loves him and is used to his quirks. It is so cute. – Avid
  • Ha ha so many! The You + I “common ground” moments. The Wembley 2014 onstage hug. The sofa smile. The Farao NRG interview 2014 energy. When Liam slipped and Zayn knelt down to check on him. When Zayn put Liam over his shoulder and carried him off stage. Dancing together on 1D day – Gee (she/her)
  • [Zayn] giving him [Liam] a rose
  • Post Zayn’s departure, when someone asked liam if zayn and him are okay, he said yes while on stage <3 – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • Every single moment they caught each other’s gaze or decided they should share a lap, even with plenty of room around them. They have this magnetic pull that always brings them together. And the way they look at each other is like nothing else. I also have a soft spot for their fishing trip and Zayn’s fish hook necklace that he wore afterwards. It was such a special day for them. – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: Do you have a favourite queer coding moment from either or both of them? Why does that moment stand out?

  • Both of them: the hanky code. Zayn even got a bandana tattoo – Anjori (she/her)
  • Hidden rainbows, bears and red from Z. Yellow and eye w/freckle from Li – N9nnaDK
  • Calamity “BAFTAs” because Zayn lyrically says that theatre actors are straighter than him. They’re not known for being very straight. Liam’s Final Act hoodie in rainbow, making him the first 1D member with official rainbow merch. Liam on the cover of Attitude magazine in 2015, he’s the first member on the cover of a gay magazine. Liam’s KFC tweet for Pride Month. “I may not be gay but I’m in love with a man”. His responses to Cheryl/Tom Hardy, and also Justin Timberlake (how do you know I don’t like him the same way). Zayn’s rainbow on the car windshield for Vibez music video
  • For Liam it was the use of bandanas (aka the hanky code). It was not a fashion statement to him, he was screaming in the only way he could. For Zayn basically the entirety of Nobody is Listening, if you really look and listen from the album title to the music and lyrics, it’s so profound and heart breaking that he felt no one listens to him about who he is, so he tried to tell us in a way he could hoping someone would listen. – C
  • Anything hankie related, all the bi lightning Liam is known for because it’s my rep. – Chelle
  • Ziam introduced me to the hanky code. I also loved Zayn’s rainbow bracelets and Liam’s triangle necklace taught me some queer history. – Avid
  • Liam singing Blurred Lines with Good Guy instead of Good Girl for no obv reason – Narry caught by surprise and listening with their whole bodies, literally stopped in their tracks, to see if they’d heard it right. then Harry shouting over “What rhymes with hug me, Liam?” when Liam repeated it a second time (sept 2014) 🙂 – Gee (she/her)
  • When they both dropped photographs with bisexual lighting around the same time, because it made me feel seen. 
  • hanky code, it’s iconic lmao
  • Cartier bracelets – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • Literally their entire existence. Trying to type them all out would take a year, and I think that’s beautiful 🙂 – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: What is your favourite April 25th connection/reference?

  • The 4 and the 25 tattoo And Zayns lyrics in Let Me: “Long walks on the beach in April I promise darling I’ll be faithful” – Anjori (she/her)
  • 4 finger, 2 sets of 25 shoes (Liam has worn them, Zayn has worn them). “Long walks on the beach in April”. The reshare of Goshtsziam on April 24th 2018, with Zayn’s tattoos on Liam’s hand. The art had been saved for weeks to be shared on that day. 2:54 teardrop length.
  • Their tattoos!!
  • The tattoos, that Zayn has 25 tattooed on his neck and Liam has a 4 tattoo on his finger, which neither of them have ever explained. -C 
  • Their clothing, like the 25 shoes and jackets. The tattoos! Paynt. – Chelle
  • 25 / 4 tattoos. Liam closing his laptop for the end of lockdown year in an IG short and doing the 2 5 4 fingers on it while saying how important it had been to him that year – Gee (she/her)
  • Zayn getting fucking 25 tattooed on him in fucking red
  • A tie between the 4 ring finger tattoo matched to the 25 red neck tattoo and the lyrics in Let Me, especially because of the connection to Ziami. – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: Which of their Ziam tattoos is your favourite and why?

  • The matching sunray tattoos near both their hand/wrist tattoos. They match when lined up and overlaid – Anjori (she/her)
  • The red wolf is pretty obvious, but I think the 25 on Z and 4 on Li – N9nnaDK
  • Their hands!! The eagle/rose/banner and the mandala hand, that would hold hands together. But also the Love cursive tattoos they share. But also the marriage poem that’s about singing together like two trees, and the “we’re the quiet ones.”
  • Their 25 and 4 tattoos.
  • Besides their 4 & 25 tattoos, Liam’s ‘I figured it out’ tattoo and Zayn’s various tattoos alluding to Liam including the red wolf, marriage poem and mandalas. They are special because they hold so much meaning. Liam’s tattoo is lyrics from You & I which is known as the Ziam song, and the red wolf both the colour and animal signify Liam. Lastly, the wedding poem and mandala tattoos of Zayn’s are so beautiful. – C
  • We are the quiet ones – Sam
  • Zayn: 25, Wolf, The Smoking Man, Marriage Poem and Mandala, and Castle. Liam: The Roses, 4, We Are The Quiet Ones, The Feather, I Figured It Out. – Chelle
  • Liam’s “I figured it out” tattoo b/c You & I is my favourite 1D song and I too am a chaotic bisexual who needed figuring out and Zayn’s mandala tattoo because it connects his love of Liam to his culture, and he loves to show his hands in photos to let the world know that he’s married and proud. – Avid
  • Liam’s “I figured it out” tattoo from You + I. Zayn in Zach Sang interview 2016 talking about the lyrics to Pillowtalk being inspired by something that happened in life that the listeners could “figure it out” for themselves. Zayn’s black bandana on his right arm. Like Liam’s black hanky code in his back left pocket. – Gee (she/her)
  • The tiger and him having Liam tattooed on him forever or Zayn’s Mandala hand tattoo
  • i figured it out 
  • Tiger with the tail representing L – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • For Liam: the eye freckle tattoo and “I figured it out.” For Zayn: The mandala (that matches the rose) and the red neck collar. They have so many it’s hard to choose! – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: Do you have a favourite post-hiatus Ziam connection? What makes it special?

  • Paynt by Zayn is so obvious And the reappearance  of the Cartier love bracelets – Anjori (she/her)
  • Paynt by Z, the bear everywhere in stuff connected to Z. Li confirming Ziam in Insta lives. Z mentioning teardrop in his hot ones interview 😍 – N9nnaDK
  • PAYNT by Zayn. He spelled out 80% of his husband’s name.
  • Paynt hands down. It’s special because it’s one of the most obvious connections post 1D, from it being spelled ‘Paynt’ a lot like Payne as well as the random ‘L’ everywhere on the merch. In my opinion without a doubt, Zayn told us who that clothing line is dedicated to. – C
  • Zayn singing You and I after Li was coping [with] all the hate for that podcast which was 1) most likely a stunt, 2) not even that bad – Sam
  • The Cartier Bracelet – It’s my favourite because they both bring them out when they know their fans need reassuring. Tattoos – the smoking man being Liam, the marriage poem and mandala, the 4. I find their Tattoos beautiful. Zayn’s investment in Mixoloshe and his current return to music are an obvious sign of deep commitment to his marriage and Liam. Ziami. – Chelle
  • Zayn co-owning Mixoloshe, a non-alcoholic tequila brand. I’m a recovering alcoholic so I love having them available for other non-drinkers when I’m hosting and I love that Zayn chose a product that is a testament to his love for his sober partner. – Avid
  • When Zayn was filmed being harassed outside a bar in NYC and Liam did an IG live about a “dream” he had the night before about Zayn being in a fight. Special because it was such a loud show of solidarity – “at least you know I’m thinking about you…”. Also it was filmed while it looked like Liam was packing and posted 5 or 6 hours before it appeared on Liam’s feed – (flight mode time delay?). I think he went straight out to support Zayn. Zayn’s PaynT collection with the robot man and smoking man motifs and the Ls and Zs. Coupla days before it dropped Liam (Mr six pack abs like the robot) with the robot toy talking proudly. – Gee (she/her)
  • Ziam interacting on instagram and saying to dm him bro 
  • They both talked about staying in touch and continuing to write music together on several occasions 
  • Tattoos and lyrics of each others song – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • Paynt was so beautifully unhinged. And I don’t know that anything could be more meaningful than both of them still wearing the Cartier bracelets in 2024. – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

Question: What makes you most proud to be a Ziam?

  • To share their message of kindness, patience, tenacity, quiet yet firm fight against the powers that be. Believing in yourself and each other.  Knowing together you can weather any storm.  You don’t need to change yourself to achieve your goals. The Quiet Ones. It’s nice to be nice It doesn’t cost anything – Anjori (she/her)
  • I’m proud of supporting good people. I stand by them through everything and also excited for all their wins. I protect them by always highlighting the good they do and disprove the shit people say about them – N9nnaDK
  • Ziams are loyal and protective. When the world was bullying someone and not even knowing why they were doing that bullying, Ziams protected and served as anti-bullies. Even though it was socially uncool, even though it wasn’t prestigious to be a fan at that moment, they showed up and stuck together and stood up against bullying. 
  • I’m proud to be a Ziam because I can see them for what they are, a reality. There are so so many people who don’t believe in Ziam or refuse to even entertain that Zayn and Liam are anything but straight or are even friends. They are so overlooked and under loved in the fandom and they deserve as much attention as anyone else and for that reason I will always be on their side. – C
  • Not only have the boys [Zayn and Liam] been closeted (like Larry), they’re also not recognized by the fans as much but they’ll never ever stop being loud until everyone hears ❤ – Sam
  • I’m new to One Direction, in general. Even newer to Larry and Ziam, so finding a community within a community has taken time.  However, when it felt like the world was against Liam I stood up for him and that helped solidify some strong friendships for me. When Zayn was also there showing his support it meant EVERYTHING to me because my feelings towards them as a couple were so fragile at that time. I was so terrified of losing Liam and Zayn has been there supporting him without revealing their relationship to the public. It’s not my place to say when or if they should do that. It’s my place to support them. And support them both, I do. I’m happy to be one of those who loves and adores them. – Chelle
  • Liam has a tattoo that says “we are the quiet ones”. When I became a fan of 1D in late 2013,  Zayn was already starting to get muted in interviews and Liam’s leadership role was to promote the official narrative permitted by their management team. I am proud that I was able to see through the PR and recognize this beautiful queer love story back then and to this day. – Avid
  • Their “for better and for worse” energy. They’ve had a lot of shit in their public narratives, but still “the quiet ones” are loud about their love in so many ways. Loud and proud. – Gee (she/her)
  • Knowing that we are listening and that we’re gonna support and come together for either of them if management pulls stupid stunts. 
  • I love that they’re both on their own journeys but are there for each other, and I love being in their corner too.
  • They are the quiet ones, that’s what I love the most about them – Hlzlbn (she/her)
  • I’m so genuinely proud of both of them and the way they use their platforms. Liam’s work with Rainbow Railroad and Zayn’s work with Mixoloshe are just two examples. They’ve been in the spotlight since they were kids and to see them making their music and sharing their art and continuing to grow into themselves makes me very proud. It’s a hard thing to figure out who you are and what you want your life to be, and that process is even more difficult with the entire world watching. They’ve both remained kind, empathetic, intelligent individuals and I feel lucky to be their fan. – Unscattered Horizons (they/them)

No single article could contain all of the love for Ziam, but hopefully this offers a window into the passion and pride that Ziams have for them, both as individuals and together. April 25th is a great reason to learn more about Ziam if you’ve been wondering, and a time to celebrate for those who are Ziams already. Stream their music, watch some nostalgic interviews or the Ziam timeline, and send some love out into the world.

Happy April 25th 🙂 

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