In 2018, Netflix reintroduced the world to the show Queer Eye. The show, which has been reinterpreted from the original 2003 version, follows five queer men who enter into the lives of a “hero” who struggles to care for, know, and love themselves. Each of the men in the group, lovingly called the Fab Five, Antoni (food), Tan (fashion), Karamo (lifestyle), Bobby (interior design), and Jonathan (beauty), help tackle the areas in which that week’s hero is falling short. They show the hero how to dress appropriately for their work and home life, how to make food that will nourish them and their families, and how to care for themselves in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways. A lot of growth, processing, and understanding are gained through the heroes’ time with the Fab Five. But through watching the show, there was one striking thing that occurred over and over again at the end of each episode. Each hero expressed that they felt like they gained five new friends through the process. They gained intimacy, like someone finally saw them for who they were, helped them see their worth, and coached them to become a better version of themselves.
And through this beautiful show, we are attuned to five men who see people, who understand the value of community and caring for one’s self. They affirmed time and time again the value of each human being that they mentored. They uplifted each person with acceptance, tools to succeed, and a foundation for understanding that it is okay and even good to care for themselves.
How quickly I was convicted of the way that I fall short in doing what seemed so basic and innate to these five men. Some Christians have failed in many ways in how we have interacted with the queer community. The church has often not been welcoming toward this group of people and in doing so, we have not done a good job at looking for ways that we can affirm and champion the good that these people value and uplift others. They are uniquely gifted at seeing what they can affirm! They shower people with encouraging words and celebrate the good that they see. We have the ability to not only enter into conversation with those who may be wary of entering the church because of the hate or intolerance toward people who identify as queer, but we are also given tools to see how to affirm the good that we see in others first.
The Fab Five was able to connect and gain intimacy with their heroes by celebrating them well. They were quick to find not just the things that needed help and fixing, but the things that were worthy of celebration and affirmation. As I, and many other Christians and those who are other than Christian watched this show, we noticed the difference in how they were quick to name not just physical or fluffy traits, but how they named a person’s worth as just that—a person.
And I believe that it is through the good news of the gospel that we are able to do the same to those that we encounter. We have the opportunity to notice and affirm the good that we see in our friends and neighbors. We can celebrate the ways in which those around us are doing good things and name the ways in which God is at work in their lives because of who God created them to be.
Much like we can affirm the work of the Fab Five in how they seek to honor those they coach. We call these acts good because they come from a good creator. In creation, God calls what he created good over and over, and this is what he does when he sees his creation acting in ways that affirm his original intention. I am thankful for the example of Christ-like character that the Fab Five demonstrate. My heart and mind are convicted and encouraged to be more like them and in turn, more like Christ.