Opinion: Why Jonathan Van Ness is the best member of Queer Eye

Jonathan Van Ness entered Queer Eye loudly.

The man responsible for the reiteration of “honey”, and arguably the only man on earth who can successfully pull off a man bun, Van Ness is a unique, heartwarming star that shines in the series.

Although I firstly dismissed Jonathan for Antoni’s avocado-based allure, I soon realised that I hadn’t quite clicked with Jonathan because I hadn’t quite clicked with my own sexuality.

Jonathan Van Ness. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)

I may have identified as a bisexual woman for the past six years, but it has been a long journey to happily and openly dating women regardless of what other people think.

My coming out was nothing short of a disaster, and I am still not fully accepted by some members of my family for happening to be gay.

And I give Jonathan Van Ness an indeterminable amount of credit for letting me finally feel comfortable with the truest version of myself, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

It appears that I haven’t been alone in receiving some flack when I rise above the parapet and dismiss the jarring societal discomfort people seem to share if I don’t abide by straight-passing for an easier life.

Jonathan seemed to receive some undue criticism during his initial moments on Queer Eye unlike the rest of the Fab Five – and it appeared that he was targeted simply for being the most pure form of himself.

Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness and an unnamed koala (Don Arnold/Getty Images for Netflix Australia)

Like many people, I initially didn’t know how to take Jonathan. His voice was so assured, so loud and so present while the other members of the Fab Five took a little longer to surface.

But after a matter of a couple of episodes I realised that I was fascinated and besotted with Jonathan in a way that I had last been with Dale Winton in his heyday – and that’s because he doesn’t apologise for being a loud and proud camp man.

“He is just full throttle fucking queer, empathetic, understanding, gender-bending HUN,” gay Queer Eye aficionado Dan Cooper told PinkNews.

Due to Jonathan presenting as a camp gay man, he has received a lot of ill-judged criticism from straight circles – and I can’t help but feel this is because he’s overtly gay.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 31: Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown on stage at the #NETFLIXFYSEE Event For “Queer Eye” at Netflix FYSEE At Raleigh Studios on May 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

At the start of the first series of the reboot, Jonathan was undoubtedly a victim of internalised homophobia as he was branded a “little bit extra”, “too loud” or “too in your face.”

With perfectly tousled locks, an impressive commitment to vocal fry and an unapologetic desire to strut his stuff, Jonathan owns his queer identity in a way that is nothing short of inspiring – and apparently off-putting for those who struggle to accept a femme man.

“@ straight people watching queer eye then bitching about how much they hate Jonathan: you’re basically saying “i don’t mind gay people so long as they don’t rub it in my face” and it’s boring, tired, and offensive,” wrote @pipsuxx in defence of the star on Twitter.

Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Bobby Berk, and Karamo Brown from Queer Eye. (Netflix)

Throughout each episode of Queer Eye, Jonathan manages to steal the show while providing the utmost time and care for the people he is helping.

Ensuring that he provides tangible, cost-effective ways for people to practice self-care, Jonathan’s ability to be himself shines through in the way that he offers advice to the people he helps.

“Jonathan doesn’t change people. He keeps their style so well he just makes them cared for and appreciate they are worthy of care,” Fashion McChic told PinkNews.

“He actually gives a shit about skin care, as opposed to using make-up to cover Up shit. So he’s about long term changes not short-term fixes,” added Jessica White.

And it’s because Jonathan is a unique, effervescent brand of being that he is so widely loved by the people who pay time and attention to the message of the show: butch or femme, camp or bear, be the best version of yourself and be comfortable with who you are.

As I watch Queer Eye now and feel the tears coming to my eyes, it’s because I know I’ve reached, finally, a sense of peace, and know that Jonathan Van Ness will have helped so many struggling queers through the same journey.