I watched episode 1 of season 2 of Queer Eye on Friday night and cried my way through it. I love the ‘Fab 5′ and all that they do! If you haven’t seen any of Queer Eye, pop onto Netflix and get binge watching. You won’t be sorry.
After crying my way through episode 1, I text two of my girlfriends telling them how wonderful and brave the episode was.
It’s a flammable subject. The episode centres around the church and their approach to tut LGBTQ community. Truly, I thought everyone would love it as much as me but…. well, they didn’t!
The three of us are wonderful friends as well as feminists, pro LGBTQ, and we represent all three options of faith; (a Christian, an Atheist and an Agnostic) – we could be a girl band, or the beginning of a really bad joke.
Needless to say we had hugely different views on the episode and what ensued was a fantastic WhatsApp conversation covering our opinions and our feelings.
I enjoyed the conversation so much, and found it so interesting, that I asked the girls if they would be up for me writing a blog post about it and include their opinions. They (very kindly) agreed so here we go, three girls, three opinions and one episode of queer eye!
*spoiler alert – don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the episode and you want to*
Q: So we all had very different opinions about episode 1. What was your overarching feeling about it?
H: I actually had a really positive overarching feeling about the episode. Whilst I’m not black or gay, the struggle Myles had with being able to identify within the Church is something I can relate to. I also appreciated how each member of the Fab 5 had their own perspective on what it meant to be gay and a Christian; something I feel isn’t addressed as a norm in mainstream media.
W: I found it very difficult to believe. I find it hard to see how the gay community (granted, represented only by 5 men) can be so forgiving to people who have openly shamed and bashed them for so long. My overall feeling of the episode was extremely narcissistic and conceited. I found the one on ones were very forced and quite frankly couldn’t take what they were discussing seriously. Also the episode glossed over the fact that this “kind” woman abandoned and thought less of her son because of his sexuality due to her religion and thoughts of her community and her asking for forgiveness, for me, was a selfish act to have her feel better about herself. I thought the reactions of the Fab 5 were rehearsed and insincere. The episode should have been about her son and not her.
H: I agree that the episode should have been about him. There was so much more to emotionally invest in with his journey. I don’t feel that she warranted the “help” that the Fab 5 could give, nor did they seem the right “fit” to give it to her (please forgive my superficial definitions!)
C: I thought the episode showed so clearly how “the church” (in its most broad stroke and generalised view) has hurt so many of the LGBTQ community (Bobby couldn’t even step into the church!) I think it also gently illustrated that those views are wrong, outdated, very hurtful, and showed people what incredible damage they do. Also showing at the same time that there is a road back. My overarching feeling was of complete What I took away their need for that conversation re: forgiveness was that she needed him to say she forgave him, not for her benefit, or that so she could feel better about herself, but so that she could then go and apologise to God – because she knew how horribly wrong she had been. Of course, hearing her son say he forgave her would have been a relief for her, but I personally didn’t feel like that was the main driver.
Q; What was your favourite/ least part of the episode?
H: My favourite part of the episode was when Bobby opened up to Tammye about his reasons for not going into the Church. I felt that he was being incredibly sincere about something that was clearly very difficult to talk about. My least favourite part of the episode was when Myles was brought into the salon for a makeover. I felt that this was a cheap after-thought and the attention was yet again drawn to his mother which I thought was unnecessary – let the guy have his moment! I felt a lot of what he was doing was to please his mother rather than out of honest intention/choice.
C: I’d agree that Bobby coming into the salon cheapened the sincerity! And yes! Bobby talking about to Tammy was very emotional!
W: Hooking onto this, the Bobby section was absolutely the bit that made me roll my eyes and begin hating on this episode. To not walk into a church because the cameras were rolling and to just begin a story line is how I saw this part. I believe his struggle he spoke of with Mama but she glossed over that too. Nothing was solved, resolved or actually discussed, everything just came back to “God is Love” which helps and explains nothing. My favourite part was seeing the interaction between Karamo and Myles because that was the closest relation and sincere interaction I saw in the programme. Also Myles’ happiness with singing with the choir, albeit badly.
H:Lol I couldn’t disagree with you more Hahahaha I love that we can though!
W: Exactly, totally opposing views. It’s interesting. I am a hard arse though! Haha
H: You also have no experience of the church whatsoever which will mean we definitely will have opposing views! You aren’t a hardarse you’re lovely!
C: Sorry Willow, I’m with Hannah on this one. And from a Christian driven perspective, the idea that “God is Love” is absolutely crucial. Because it’s that concept that will begin to change Christian people’s minds who aren’t so inclusive about this issue! Also Willow, you are lovely!
W: No I agree that is what the faith should be and what the vast majority of most religions is based on. What I’m opposing is that it just kept being said and not acted upon. You abandoned your son, but “god is love”. I have lots of issues surround the church because of how I was treat, but “god is love”. I’ve come back and I’m terrified of walking back into a community which shuns everything I stand for, but “god is love”. Nothing was being resolved, just “god is love” being repeated.
Q; You guys know that I’m a Christian and my positive experience of my faith means I found the episode really wonderful. How did you think your experience of faith informed your opinion of the episode?
W: Good question. My experience of *any* faith (and that’s important) is that the majority do good deeds to make themselves feel better and look better in the eyes of their god. Yes helping the poor and needy is fantastic, but it’s done to achieve that golden ticket to this magical town on a cloud. Obviously as ALWAYS there are good good people who are total selfless. But the underlying message of this episode for ME was that if Myles forgave his mother then his mother could be seen in a good light to God. Why not be in a good light because she fucked up hugely and abandoned her son and made her son feel the way he did because an old re-written book says so? I found nothing sincere except Karamo.
H: I don’t know about this one 😞. I think it’s very important to point out that the US generally has a much more positive perception of Christianity than we do in this country. By that I mean that I think it is much more “socially acceptable” to believe in God than it is here. If that’s just me being ignorant then please call me out on that. For instance, the majority of the fab 5 were all still quite open about the fact they believed in a God. I don’t think people are open enough in the UK about having faith. I think we as a nation are very sceptical of belief. Perhaps that is my own experience speaking, I don’t know. I found the episode resonated with me a lot, in that I have made excuses in earlier years about my faith, because of other people’s perceptions of it. And over time that faith has dwindled. I understood how Bobby felt (yes, okay, this was probably played up for the cameras) because I have felt somewhat how he felt. I don’t think that actually answered your question!
I also feel that Myles was doing a lot of what he was doing in order to better his relationship with his mother (out of fear) than out of choice. That resonates a lot with me and my “faith”.
Deep gals. Deep.
C: Haha! Sorry! Knew that one would get heavy!! I know I’m coming at this from a completely different perspective than you. But from my point of view (both a Christian and pro LGBTQ) it was an episode that seemed to heal a lot of hurt, and was completely inclusive in nature. To have a verse from the bible, the Quran, from Buddha, from Ghadi (as well as so many others) at the beginning of each chapter was a lovely touch.
Karamo clearly has a faith and has been accepted by his church (I absolutely loved his comment when he said “my grandma said God is Love and that’s all there is too it” – happens to be my personal stance) and yes there are MANY who feel that the LGBTQ community and the church community can’t mix. But that has to change and I think that it is changing. What you have to realise is that those views are SO deep rooted in the “church” that for particularly the older generation and those communities really out on the fringes (like hers) but many of the people that have faith that are my age hold the same opinion as I do.
W: That’s interesting for me because I don’t find this a difficult conversation at all 🤷🏻♀ maybe because lack of faith or interest or belief. That being said though, the morals I live by are the same as every religious moral and ethic. Be kind.
Thank you guys for being so honest! I think there’s so much to be said for talking about to difficult things and sharing what’s important to us!
Like Hannah said to us when we were chatting earlier, “we can only educate each other” and celebrate each other’s differences and crucially, our many many similarities.