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‘Queer Eye’ Season 2 features show’s first makeover for a trans man – ANITH
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‘Queer Eye’ Season 2 features show’s first makeover for a trans man

‘Queer Eye’ Season 2 features show’s first makeover for a trans man

Spoilers for Queer Eye Season 2 ahead.

Queer Eye Season 2 features the show’s first-ever makeover for a trans person.

It’s the most emotional television you’ll watch for an age. Seriously, don’t watch it at work. Naturally, we had to blubber madly at talk to them about it, so we sat down with the Fab Five — Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, and Tan France — on their press tour in Sydney to unpack episode 5.

“That episode for me I think is one of the most powerful episodes that will ever be seen on TV,” Queer Eye‘s culture guru Brown told Mashable. “First of all, usually when we see the first trans experience, we usually see it through the lens of a trans woman. We never really see our trans brothers being highlighted and showing their experience.”

The ‘Queer Eye’ guys chat to Mashable in Sydney, Australia.

Skyler is a transgender man who started doing drag in college. In the episode, he says he “gave himself that safe space to experiment with my gender,” before committing to his true male self — something that sadly “drove a wedge” between him and his family.

Skyler is one of the most impactful, memorable protagonists in 'Queer Eye' to date.

Skyler is one of the most impactful, memorable protagonists in ‘Queer Eye’ to date.

Image: Courtesy of Netflix

“He spent most of his life feeling one way on the inside and having the world see him as something else,” said Berk in the episode, one that will hopefully open up people’s consciousness to the little everyday things that make up the trans experience — learning how to shave your beard strategically with Van Ness, or get a suit properly fitted with France, for example.

After the Fab Five watch a video of Skyler’s top surgery, during which his breasts are removed — the surgery only happened six weeks before his Queer Eye makeover — the group reflect on relationships and support within LGBTQ communities. 

“We support our sisters and brothers, but we don’t know everything they go through.”

“So many gay men, lesbian, bisexual people, we don’t know truly what the trans experience is,” says Brown in the episode. “We support our sisters and brothers, but we don’t know everything they go through.”

“I think that probably most straight people assume that because it’s LGBTQ, we must all understand each other’s plight. But that couldn’t be more wrong,” says France in the episode, admitting that he hasn’t met a trans person before.

“We see through the cast, that some of us have more knowledge or experience with the trans community than others,” Brown told Mashable. “Tan has a moment where he’s very open and transparent and says, ‘I don’t really know about what’s going on with you as a trans person. Please just educate me.'” 

Skyler chats with design king Bobby.

Skyler chats with design king Bobby.

Image: Courtesy of Netfilx

The episode features two beautiful scenes in which Queer Eye’s fashion aficionado France chats with Skyler, who gets his first proper suiting since the surgery. It features a beautiful moment where the suit’s lapel is moved further back to accentuate his chest. Just try watching this scene without smiling from ear to ear.

“I didn’t know that about suiting for the trans community,” France told Mashable. “I think that’s something that we do throughout Season 1 and 2: If we don’t know something, we bring in people who do. I’ve never professed to be all-knowing, and so connecting with people and asking them to come into our scene and educate us as well feels amazing.”

“With Skyler, I wanted to be really open about it and say, ‘I don’t know the experience that you’re going through,’ I want to be able to highlight that.”

Brown says this type of curiosity and openness about the trans experience could strike a chord with viewers also keen to learn.

“I think that’s going to resonate with a lot of people who are in those small towns, or big metropolitan cities who are afraid to ask the questions but they’re scared to open up because they don’t want to be judged or seem ignorant. I think it’s just going to be one of those powerful episodes that people are not only going to cry, but they’re going to learn and grow, and in 10 years we’re going to see a shift in the conversation with the little seed that Queer Eye planted.” 

“It’s just going to be one of those powerful episodes that people are not only going to cry, but they’re going to learn and grow.”

In a key moment of the episode, Brown takes Skyler to the DMV to change the gender on his driver’s license to “M” from “F.” It doesn’t sound like much to anyone who isn’t trans, but it’s a huge deal, even a life-changing one, for a person’s day-to-day sense of identity — and even Skyler’s hospital experience saw him referred to with feminine pronouns as a result of this misidentification.

“[Brown] shed some light on something I think all of us take for granted, something as simple as a basic form of identification, which I thought was everybody’s God-given right, but clearly not. This is a thing that Skyler fought for for years,” Porowski told Mashable.

“When you humanise the trans experience in a way that we all can relate,” added Brown, “we all remember what it was like wanting to get our license, and just feeling as if now we’re acknowledged because of this card. And to know that the trans community is being told constantly that you’re not good enough just as you are to get a license, something that we all deserve, I think it’s going to help people to see that we should be giving them the same rights as everyone else.” 

Skyler has already fought tooth and nail to be the man he is, and the Queer Eye makeover is simply a reset, true to the show’s form, which encourages the protagonist, whoever they may be, to optimise the best elements of their character and start a new, empowered chapter.

“I think I needed this experience to happen more than I could wrap my head around,” says Skyler in the episode. “I feel more comfortable in this moment than I have ever felt in my entire life.”

Queer Eye Season 2 starts streaming on Netflix on June 15. Watch Season 1 while you’re waiting.

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Anith Gopal
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