For those of you who don't know, "Queer Eye" is a relatively new show on Netflix which premiered in February of 2018. The show follows a team of five gay men, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness, and Bobby Berk, known as the 'Fab Five'. In each episode, the Fab Five are assigned a new person to provide with a makeover, and not just a basic 90's movie makeover you are picturing. Each Fab Five team member has a specialty they focus on during their nominees' transformation. Karamo focuses on culture, Tan on fashion, Antoni on food and wine, Jonathan on grooming, and Bobby on design.
Individually, these men can do incredible things (and incredible is an understatement), but together, their efforts have given several men the self-confidence boost they need. The Fab Five creates a personalized makeover for each contestant which truly transforms their look and lifestyle.
Unlike the original "Queer Eye" which provided makeovers to individuals in the Northern US region (yes, there was an original show which aired in 2003), the "Queer Eye" Netflix series has the Fab Five transforming contestants in the Midwest, specifically Georgia. Nowadays, it seems as though many individuals fall either far left or far right on the political spectrum. And in 2018, we as a nation are still heavily debating the social acceptance of the lgbtq+ community.
Sad but true, some individuals still believe only a man and woman should be legally wed- only a man and woman should be able to adopt children- and many other legal rights. Not only do the Fab Five improve their contestants physical and emotional well-being, but their presence leaves a lasting impact on the towns they visit and a new impression on the community members of how gay men behave and interact.
"I'm not saying a conversation with one police officer and one gay guy is gonna solve problems, but maybe it can open up eyes to something more." - Karamo Brown
"Queer Eye'" focuses on the needs of the individual featured in each specific episode, yes, but there have been times where members of the Fab Five themselves have made steps towards personal growth. In Season 1 episode 3 of "Queer Eye," the Fab Five travel to Winder, Georgia, where they give police officer Cory Waldrop a makeover. At the very beginning of the episode, the Fab Five gets pulled over by a police officer (prior to learning that Cory is a police officer), and almost instantly Karamo tenses up, stating that he is, "...aware of this type of cop."
While driving with Cory later in the episode, Karamo brings up the topic of tension between police officers and the black community. He reveals that when being pulled over earlier in the episode, he feared he would be dragged out of the car. Using his time with Cory to his advantage, Karamo explains how he does not want to be, "...lumped into one category as criminals" just because of the color of his skin, to which Cory responded, "all police officers don't wanna be lumped into being the bad guy." After a long car ride together, the two realized they both feel misunderstood and highlight the importance of communication and openness between their communities.
"And that's what we all need to do to everyone [get to know each other]. Not just the LGBT community, but Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists. Just love and accept them, because that is what Jesus would do." - Bobby Berk
In season 2 episode 1, the Fab Five traveled to Gay, Georgia and gave Tammye (Yes, a woman!) and her Church's community center a makeover. This episode brings up the discussion of how Christians view the lgbtq+ community, and vice-versa. When the Fab Five arrives at the church they have agreed to redesign a community center for, Bobby, (head of design), refuses to step inside.
As the episode progresses, Tammye and Bobby have a heart to heart where Bobby revealed that growing up, attending church and being an active member of his church's community meant everything to him. Bobby said he knew he was gay from a young age and would beg God to not make him gay. Once his church and their member's discovered he was gay, they shut him out completely, resulting in him promising himself that he would never step foot in a church again. Tammye then proceeded to explain what the saying, "What Would Jesus Do?", means to her. She said, "You can't antagonize and evangelize at the same time." Although Bobby had a negative experience in the past involving the church, Tammye proved to Bobby that there are Christians in this world who will accept him, and other members of the LGBT community, happily.
"Before you go judge somebody, get to know them. I guarantee you'll find more similarities than differences." - Antoni Porowski
When scrolling through Netflix, a viewer may take a quick look at "Queer Eye" and think it's nothing more than a couple gay men giving straight men makeovers. But they would be wrong. Yes, the Fab Five completely transform people's physical appearance, redesign their homes or special spaces, and show these individuals how to love themselves- all of which is a gift alone. More than that, however, the Fab Five has been able to bring conflicting communities of the past together and work towards tolerance and acceptance of one another. Whether it be sexuality, race, or religion, these men will tackle any issue they believe we as people need to resolve, and I for one, am grateful.
"At the end of the day, if you're gay, straight, black, white- it doesn't matter who you are. We truly are all people wanting to connect." - Jonathan Van Ness