Are you watching the new Queer Eye? I’m sure you are. Everyone is! And, naturally, that’s because it is indeed great.
The latest season follows the same “Love is loving yourself and being the best nice person that you can be!” theme and, although there seems to be some lags, it’s overall the same goodness. The gang’s back together and things are just as gay.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this new season – how to grow up a wardrobe, how to find queerness in religion, how to manage facial hair, etc. – but the biggest lesson is in decorating (especially for decorating when queer) and is embedded within episode five, when cutie patootie leprechaun Skyler is given the makeover treatment. While he ended up looking fabulous (and teaching teachers like Tan what it means to be trans), he was taught something that by interiors guru (and unsung hero) Bobby Berk that I think is vital information for anyone dressing up a space with an identity in mind.
One of Skyler’s concerns for his apartment was to make sure that his guests know that people – Strangers, coworkers, friends, family, friends: whoever! – know that they are “stepping into a queer space.” He accomplished this with a giant rainbow flag and multiple Pride posters and various queer and homoerotic representations tacked on every surface. He’s proud of himself! And, clearly, he wants to show this off.
This is a common feeling in queer world, particularly for queers of a certain age and certain style: to rainbow everything so that everyone knows who we are and how we rule our lives. The issue here is that…it’s all a big fucking rainbow – and that looks very, very dormitory. This isn’t unique to Skyler as many in other ethnic and cultural and minority groups similarly express personal style by way of flags or symbols or objects that manifest identity followed by the personal, the things that have made that person’s life in more specific detail. Yes, it is important to show off which tribes you align with however, as Berk points out, this is just a small part of you (and isn’t necessarily the best looking part of you too).
Berk’s solution was simple – and is something all queers who want to show their pride need to take to heart. “I want Skyler to realize that queer is just a column that holds up the house of Skyler,” he explained. “Flags are to be flown – they’re not decor.” Berk reiterates this when shopping with Skyler, explaining that the pillar – The rainbow! – isn’t the entire house. Thus, your house shouldn’t be a giant rainbow but instead a riffing on it, a touching on it, an accent to your living.
It’s sage advice that manifests later in the show as Berk frames rainbows and depictions of queerness in a way that “says it” without literally flying various flags to “say it.” This is something for all of us to hold on to, to manifest our identities but in ways that don’t literally paint a space to the point that all you see is that single shade. This accenting your space with identity elevates where you live, making it more of an adult room instead of an off-the-rack display of a Pride flag.
And why is this important? Because literally anyone can hang a Pride flag. Literally anyone can do that. But, as Berk asserts, the difference is the personalizing, by you spinning it to you. You are the rainbow, in a sense: you are living that truth which means that that truth doesn’t have to be hung all over your walls.