Robyn Discusses Identifying With Queer Culture In ‘Out’ Magazine

Becky Bain | May 17, 2011 11:38 am

Robyn is considered one of the most beloved gay icons in pop (we probably won’t have to wait long til she gets her own star on the Gay Walk Of Fame after Xtina), but it’s not just a superficial queer knighthood— the Swedish singer tells Out magazine that she personally identifies with the LGBTA community even though she isn’t a lesbian. (That doesn’t stop people from thinking she is one, however.) After the jump, read highlights from the Body Talkcreator’s in-depth interview with Out, and peruse her pop art-inspired photo shoot.

Robyn tells the mag that she identifies with “queerness” due to the experience of  being confused for a boy growing up:

“I get mistaken for a lesbian all the time — but I guess I do have the most lesbian haircut of any of the girls in my field,” she laughs, referring to her signature blonde bowl cut. “And when I was growing up and I introduced myself to people I’d say, ‘Hi, my name is Robyn and I’m a girl,’ because in Sweden, Robyn is a boy’s name and I had such short hair. My handicrafts teacher thought I was a boy for three years. I tried to tell her I was a girl, but she’d just say, ‘My little boy wanted to be a girl when he was a kid, too.’ Finally my mom had to write her a note that said, ‘Please don’t assume that Robyn is a boy anymore because she’s a girl.’ Having that experience where I was confronted by people’s reactions to what I looked like or what I was supposed to look like made me identify with queerness. It still happens to me all the time, and a lot of the time it happens to me in America because even though what I consider butch is still very feminine in Europe, here you can shock people very easily just by looking a little queer.”

Her hit “Dancing On My Own” has become somewhat of a gay anthem, though she didn’t think of it that way while writing it. “Hearing it put that way doesn’t surprise me,” she says. “Gay culture has always had to embody outsidership. I think we’re all just scared to be lonely. We all want to be loved and we all want to be seen.”

“When you’re different on a very basic level, that feeling is going to be with you more often than someone who doesn’t have to face what being an outsider is really like. I think it’s a song about being on the outside — very physically— and if it feels like a gay anthem then I take that as a super compliment.”


Despite allowing cameras to follow her in a recent documentary (watch the whole thing here), Robyn is a notoriously private person, and she intends to keep it that way. “If I were to talk about my personal life and write the songs I’m writing, I wouldn’t have anything left for myself,” she says. “I think refusing to talk about my life is the only way I can do it because I want my music to be intimate — you can’t make good music without intimacy.”

She adds, “Lady Gaga is right: The fame monster grabs you, and if you’re lucky it takes you on a ride. But I don’t know if that’s always what you want. It’s just one of those things, like you’re supposed to get married — you’re supposed to want fame. It’s never really questioned.”

Read the whole interview over at Out.