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20 Queer Q’s with Author Robbie Couch

20 Queer Q’s with Author Robbie Couch

20 Queer Q’s with Author Robbie Couch

Get to know queer writer and The Sky Blues author Robbie Couch!

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The 20 Queer Q's series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.

The goal of these intimate conversations is to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend, a new perspective, and that you learned something new about or saw a different side of someone — maybe someone that you don’t see online, but someone that’s maybe like you.

This week get to know queer young-adult author Robbie Couch, whose debut novel The Sky Blues is coming out this Spring from Simon & Schuster! Learn about how he defines Pride, the earliest memory when he felt different, his favorite romantic comedies, and more!

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Name: Robbie Couch

Age: 32

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His

Sexually Identifies As: Gay

What do you love about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love how diverse our community is. We all come from all walks of life and backgrounds and it’s really cool to have one thread that goes through all of the different communities around the world. It doesn’t matter where you live or who you are in your community, there are very likely other queer people. 

I can find that that can be a challenge sometimes because we are people that come from all walks of life so when you have variety, there comes bottlenecks of challenges, but diversity overall is a strength.

How did you feel attending your first Pride?

It was wonderful and overwhelming. I was 19 and I went to Chicago Pride so it was a very intense weekend to experience. I was freshly out within a year of that so it was overwhelming in seeing and being a part of the community in such a big and boisterous way, being surrounded by people who are like you in that regard. But it was wonderful and affirming to be around thousands of people who have, in some regard, a similar life experience as you. 

What does Pride mean to you?

It’s all about having the courage to live authentically because the world is telling queer people to this day that there’s something abnormal about us, or that we need to act or be a certain way to be a part of society. I think it takes a lot of courage and strength to find a place where you can be comfortable with who you are, live as your authentic self, and be proud of that. 

What’s a song you consider to be an LGBTQ+ anthem?

"Together Again" by Janet Jackson.

Do you think LGBTQ+ youth have it easier? Do you think it gets easier as time goes on? 

Because I write queer YA, one of the things I’m always thinking about is their life experiences and the challenges they’re facing that I didn’t face and the way things are easier or harder. It may be easier to come out as queer now than it was 10-20 years ago, but there are also external pressures like social media that change a young person's identity and sense of self. So that made it a lot harder than when I was growing up. 

What’s advice you have for LGBTQ+ youth?

Even if being queer feels like a really challenging or awkward or regrettable part of who you are now, at some point, it’s going to be the thing you really celebrate and the thing that makes you unique and different in the best way. It’ll be something you grow to love and not be something you feel bad or awkward about. 

Do you believe in love?

Yes.

What are the values that you look for in an ideal partner?

They absolutely have to be empathetic and have that be a main part of who they are, how they see and move through the world. Empathy is the foundation of so many other positive things about humanity whether it's kindness or compassion. There are so many positive things about being human that are connected to the basic idea of empathy. 

Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. 

Delightful, scary, intoxicating.

What is something you want to change about yourself in the next 6 months?

I really want to challenge myself to not get caught up in impostor syndrome. My first book is coming out in April and it’s such an overwhelming period so far with getting feedback good and bad, going through marketing. It's forced me to go through uncomfortable positions, and I constantly feel the impostor syndrome working in my brain. So I think I’m going to work on trying to focus on the fact that I’m deserving of what I work for and that I should be here.

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What’s the earliest memory that you have where felt that you were different?

I think I was in fourth grade when I was at a hair salon/barbershop with my dad. He was getting his haircut and I was in the waiting area and there were a bunch of magazines out. I remember looking at a Sports Illustrated and there was a male underwear spread with models and I remember sneakily going back to the spread a bunch of times and knowing it was "wrong to do it" and feeling awkward, and something went off in my brain. 

What is a quality you find sexy?

Kindheartedness.

Fill in the blank: When I find someone I’m interested in, I ______.

Immediately start blushing and want to curl up in a corner and die. 

How much does your LGBTQ+ identity play into your overall identity?

It’s a huge part of who I am and it’s really shaped who I am and how I see the world in so many ways. I think about the fact if I wasn’t gay, then I’d be a straight white guy and I don’t know if I would’ve been challenged to think more openly about the world around me even beyond queer issues. Whether talking about race, gender, immigration, whatever it may be, I don’t think I would’ve been forced to think about the world more critically. So because I’m queer, it pushed me in that direction and opened my eyes to a lot of injustice.

Fill in the blank: In 5 years I want to _________.

Be an increasingly better ally. I’ve come a long way in my allyship, but I can always get better, learn more, and do more. 

What does self-love look like?

Really learning how and when to say yes and no.

Top 3 favorite romantic comedies?

Miss Congeniality, The Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde.

How would you like to be remembered?

As someone who wanted to use storytelling to amplify important experiences and lives. 

Are you the person you thought you’d grow up to be? Do you think younger you would be proud of older you?

Yeah, I don’t know if I had a complete picture of who I would be as an adult as a kid, but I think child me would be proud and see themselves in the adult me because a lot of the insecurities, timidness, and fear that young me had has gone away so I feel like they’d be proud. 

What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained?

It’s given me open mindedness because it's forced me to see the world and see justice and what it means in different ways, so I’m a much more open person in every facet of my life. 

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Robbie’s debut novel, The Sky Blues, comes out April 6, 2021! Pre-order the book here and keep up with Robbie over on Twitter and Instagram!

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