The season opens with the reboot’s first woman, Tammye, from the town of Gay, Georgia (how apt). Mama Tammye (as she prefers to be called) is a lovely black woman who is involved with the local church, and has been doing work to put up a community center for the congregation. It’s immediately obvious that this will make for an interesting conversation because gay people and the church haven’t always had a very cheerful relationship. “In my experience with religion and religious people, I’ve just been judged,” Bobby says. “I don’t like being involved with the church because there’s so much hate against the gays, and fights against just our basic rights that I have a hard time making peace with it.”
You really get to see this conflict within Bobby when he refuses to walk into the chapel when the Fab 5 go to visit a church at the beginning of the episode. Things do turn around though, especially for Bobby (that’s for you to watch). That happens when it’s revealed that Tammye’s son is gay, and that while she struggled to accept that early on, she has embraced her son fully. But there’s still the problem of the church community, of course. Tammye’s son isn’t sure he wants to go this homecoming event at the end of the week because he fears he won’t be accepted by the community. Things turn out all right, though, and Tammye gives a very heartwarming and tearjerking speech at the homecoming (again, that’s for you to watch — I don’t want to cry while writing this).
My favorite episode, however, comes halfway through the season. In episode five, just when I thought they were never going to do it, Queer Eye finally features a trans person. The episode opens with the Fab 5 watching footage of Skyler, a trans man, getting his top surgery done. When he comes to, Skyler — half-conscious and still groggy from the operation — looks down at his new chest and you can immediately see what it means to him and how big of an impact it makes in his life (I’m holding back tears at this point).
Throughout the episode, we see how seemingly simple things are very important for the journey of trans people to be who they truly are. For example, the gender marker on Skyler’s driver’s license, (which he gets to change but only after securing his surgery documents), and how clothes fit (the appearance of straighter hips, broader shoulders). These things may not seem like major things for cis people, but they are when you’ve had to be in the wrong body your whole life.
Queer Eye is casting its widest net here, and it’s working, slowly but surely. The Gay Agenda is here, and it must be watched.
How people perceive these milestones are also important. At the beginning of the episode, Tan says in the car that he’s never met a trans person before. Later on, when he sits down with Skyler, he admits that while he is in fact married to a man, he isn’t as immersed in the LGBTQ+ community as much as he should be, and therefore ignorant about many things outside of his experiences as a gay man. Tan says that he didn’t understand why trans people had to go through a top surgery or a gender reassignment surgery because, duh, it’s expensive (Skyler had to raise $8,000) and takes a huge toll on your body. But, as Skyler explains, it’s not about that. It’s about changing your body so you don’t feel like you’re still trapped, constricted and uncomfortable in the wrong body every single day.
The 2018 Queer Eye is quickly gaining the popularity that the original once had, but this time, they’re taking on a generation that’s more open-minded than before. This of course allows the show more leeway with what and who they can put the spotlight on. You can tell there’s very careful balance and lots of thought put into the show, especially with the people featured. It treads a very fine line of being relatable and entertaining, as well as an expository and learning experience. Queer Eye is casting its widest net here, and it’s working, slowly but surely. The Gay Agenda is here, and it must be watched.
What makes this season, apart from opening more eyes to the LGBTQ+ experience, is that it helps you learn about yourself through the Fab 5 learning about themselves, learning through the people they makeover, learning about themselves. It’s a full circle experience that just transforms you from the inside out without you even knowing it, and we’ll all be better because of it. Can’t wait for Season 3.
Catch Queer Eye starting today, June 15 on netflix.com/queereye.