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.
These intimate conversations aim to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend or a new perspective.
The goal is to leave you, the reader, 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 one that you don’t see online, but one that’s maybe like you.
This week get to know comedian Benito Skinner. Learn about the moment he first felt different, what pride means to him, what his queerness has given him, and more.
Name: Benito Skinner
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His
Sexually Identifies As: Gay
1. What do you love about the LGBT community? I love how vast it is. I think growing up in Idaho I saw a very one-note representation of the community on TV like Will & Grace, but I think as I’ve gotten older, went to college, and moved to New York, I’ve seen how vast and diverse the community is and how amazing it is. I’m not saying we’re all perfect, amazing people but so far that’s all I’ve met and I think it’s a really supportive, beautiful community of people who have fought really hard to get where they are and because of that have made beautiful things in whatever they’re a part of.
2. What does pride mean to you? Part of pride for me is knowing the history and knowing the people who have fought for us to be where we’re at, being proud of them, proud of who we are now, all the things we’ve done and all the things we have yet to do and feeling fully confident and whole as a community.
3. Who is someone you consider to be an LGBT icon? SpongeBob for me was a queer icon because I identified with him when I was in second grade and there was something about him that wasn’t obsessed with being masculine or feminine, he just existed.
4. What song do you consider to be an LGBTQ+ anthem? “Hair” by Lady Gaga, which is incredibly slept on.
5. What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ youth? Be a little easier on yourself and explore the things that make you happy a little bit more.
6. Who is the most important ally in your life? Growing up, I had this amazing godmother who passed when I was in college so I never came out to her and that was a huge regret of mine. But as a kid, she always let me wear dresses and wigs so I think she’s my greatest ally because I think about her all the time when I’m making a video or performing, so probably her. Throughout my life, I have great siblings and parents as well.
7. Do you believe in love? Yes, for sure.
8. What are values that you look for in an ideal partner? Everyone always says kindness, but I really do love someone who is soft, can appreciate a romantic moment, and not be afraid to say something sweet. I like someone with a little sweetener. I look for somebody who really supports and helps people get to where they want to go. Somebody who is fun and a lively, energy filled person.
9. Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. A privilege. Empowering. Colorful. Complicated.
10. Who is the last person that made you smile? My brother. He makes me laugh all the time.
11. What’s your earliest memory where you felt you were different? I used to dance to “Oops, I Did it Again” publicly, and I just remember one person saying that it was weird for a boy to do that. But even before that, at one point, I was coloring in a Barbie coloring book. My mom was a P.E. teacher at the time, I went to school with her one day, and I remember coloring in that book and one of her students asking, “Why is he coloring in a Barbie coloring book?” And that was the first time of me asking myself, “Am i not allowed?” My mom was not having it.
12. What do you feel most insecure about? If I’m not fit, I get really insecure about my body, and I think social media elevates lot of those insecurities.
13. What is the title of the current chapter of your life? Unemployment & Amazon Wigs.
14. On a grading scale from F-A, how is life for you right now? I’d say A, I feel really lucky everyday and I love the people I spend time with, I’m lucky to be in New York and lucky to be making videos that are hopefully making people’s days better.
15. What’s a quality you find sexy? I love when people are being wholly themselves.
16. What song makes you feel the most confident, makes you feel better about yourself? Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch.”
17. How much does your LGBTQ+ identity play into your overall identity? It’s a huge part of who I am. I think a huge part of what my Instagram and YouTube channel are is someone exploring their queer identity after years of not doing so and fully letting it out. To me, it’s almost like the whole thing.
18. Fill in the Blank: In 5 years I want to _________. Have my own show, be in some projects I’m proud of, maybe move. Still be making things that I’m proud of and that makes people happy.
17. Who is someone in your life who gets you? My boyfriend. There’s also something about brotherly love. My brother just gets me so wholly.
20. What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained? It’s definitely given me more empathy and compassion for people. It’s given me so much confidence in seeing what we’re capable of and learning about it more and seeing more of it in media is so exciting. I feel honored to be gay.