The 20 Queer Qs series seeks to capture LGBTQ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity as we get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.
These intimate conversations aim to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.
This week, get to know Kathy Tu, who is the co-host of WNYC’s Nancy Podcast. Learn what she loves about the LGBTQ community, her advice for LGBTQ youth, the values she feels she’s gained through her queer experience, and more.
Name: Kathy Tu
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her
Sexually Identifies As: Queer
- What do you love about the LGBT community? The fact that we all have to think about our identity at least a little bit. I feel like everybody in the world could benefit from that, even if you’re straight.
- Can you talk about your first gay kiss? It was in college. I had a really intense friendship with this girl which was normal for me. One evening she was staying over, she was laying down on the couch and for some reason I had this urge to tell her, “I really wanna kiss you.” She said, “Do what you want,” and I went in for it and that turned into a relationship. It was exciting, but also nerve wracking because I was sharing a room with someone and right after it happened, I went to bed. The following morning after my roommate left is when we had the conversation.
- Do you think it’s hard to make queer friends? It is, because you hear so much about a community and you just assume that once you identify this way, and are part of a community, that you’re in, but that’s not how friendships work. You can definitely put yourself in queer spaces where it’s easier to make friends, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll make friends. I went to A-Camp which is a queer adult camp for women run by this website called Autostraddle. If you’re ever in a space where the default is queer, it’s just so different. I didn’t know that I needed that until I got there and once I got there, it was so much easier to make friends.
- What does pride mean to you? Pride is our way of celebrating our community, creating a safe space for us at least once a year in the world.
- Who is someone you consider to be an LGBT icon? Tobin Low
- What advice do you have for LGBT youth? Be authentic as much as you can while keeping in mind your safety, surroundings, and what you can and cannot afford to lose at the moment.
- Who is the most important ally in your life? My group of friends that I’ve known since third grade. They’ve been around for me through anything I’ve gone through and have never shied away. These four women have been the most amazing people and I don’t say that enough.
- Do you believe in love? Yes, who doesn’t?!
- What values would you like in an ideal partner? Kindness is my number one, compassion is my number two.
- Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. Fun, Terrifying, Gratifying.
- How do you feel about LGBT representation in media? It could definitely be better. The sad truth of it all is that whenever somebody needs to break a new ground, it’s almost always white guys. So once they’ve done that thing, then everyone gets a chance. The beautiful white guy has done it, and so I’m hoping we can see other ones.
- Fill in the blank: Love is _______. Kind of amazing in a way that we will love somebody, be broken, and will have the capacity to love some more.
- What’s your earliest memory of feeling that you were different? We were at an Asian supermarket, it was Christmas time and there was a Santa walking around handing gifts to kids. I was in elementary school, maybe younger. I was excited, my brother went up and he got this toy truck. I went up, he handed me a doll, and I burst into tears, I was so embarrassed and I started crying. Later, we went to dinner, came back to the poor Santa, he handed me a Rubik’s cube and I said “Yes!!”
- What do you feel most insecure about? My intelligence. My parents have been telling me I’ve been smart my whole life. I go do things and I feel like I don’t live up to that expectation and I feel dumb.
- What is the title of the current chapter of your life? Unbreakable.
- What is a quality you find sexy? Kindness.
- What song makes you feel the most confident, makes you feel better about yourself? “Make Me Feel” by Janelle Monae.
- Did you ever / still feel uncomfortable holding another girl’s hand? It depends on where I am. I did when I first started going out with people, and it also depends if the other person feels comfortable. In the city, I have no qualms about it.
- What are deal breakers for you when dating someone? Being rude to people.
- What value/quality have you gained since becoming gay? What has being gay given you? Empathy. The ability to understand what other people are going through, whether or not it’s a queer issue. The more I think about my queer identity, the more empathetic I become to the outside world.