I was worried about the term “Queer Eye” because queer, for a lot of people, is a derogatory term. I had my own feelings about it: I identify as gay, not as queer. But the queer community said: “I’m gonna take this term back and use this power.” The minute I looked at it from that perspective, I was proud to be on a show with that title.
People don’t usually assume I am gay. I tend to announce it. I am a proud, gay man. I grew up in Houston, but my parents are Jamaican. My partner and I just went back there for a holiday – I was really nervous. But then when we walked through Kingston I would hold his hand. The only way progress can happen is if someone tries to push it forward.
It’s a conscious decision to be blindly fearless and blindly courageous. When you grow up black, openly gay, from immigrant parents, in the south of America, you have to find that courage immediately. Either you’re going to submit to life, or you’re going to create life. I decided I’m not going to submit.
As a child, I immediately felt the rejection from my culture. My father used to play this song Boom Bye Bye by Buju Banton, constantly. I was 10, and knew that I was gay, and was hearing a song sung by my father and my uncles that says: “We would want to kill a gay man, and all gay men should be dead.” My father and I will never be at the point of being totally cool. He’s never been able to get over the fact that his religious views don’t coincide with his son being gay, but that’s fine. I forgave him years ago.
I’ve just asked my boyfriend to marry me. I met Ian outside a club eight years ago. It was 2am. I was like: “He has the best ass ever.” So I went over and picked him up. I literally swept him off his feet.
I always wanted kids. I just didn’t know how! And then it happened in a very interesting way. [When he was 25, Brown discovered he had a 10-year-old son from a teenage relationship. He took full custody of him, and adopted his younger half-brother. They are now aged 21 and 17.] It was scary. But jumping in, the biggest lesson I learned was that I don’t have to have all the answers.
Making people cry is my favourite thing to do. That was my one goal during Queer Eye. I understand the importance of having a cathartic moment.
Intimacy is important and intimacy is a part of sex for me. Our sexual relationship is just a lot of holding each other. It’s not about “Let’s orgasm!” I tell my kids this too: porn will screw up your mind. One of the most beautiful things about being intimate with my partner, is taking moments to share what we love about each other. To look at someone and say: “I love your eyebrows.” That is the foreplay that makes sex good.
Oh, honey, I love therapy. We live in a time where men are told to not have therapy. What are we doing, teaching men and boys that they can’t express what they’re feeling? It’s why mental health is declining very fast.
I have the worst diet. All I eat is candy, Coca-Cola and cookies. I do not work out. Never happening. I will not go on a treadmill. Running in the same spot makes me think of a hamster.
Series 2 of Queer Eye is available on Netflix
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