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Queer Eye’s Tan France says ‘being brown and gay made coming out harder’

Ella Braidwood July 4, 2018

Queer Eye's fashion expert Tan France. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Netflix)

Queer Eye‘s Tan France has spoken out about the racism he receives, saying that it made coming out harder.

The fashion expert also talked about meeting a trans person for the first on season two of the show, and said that he is still understanding the wider LGBT+ community.

In an interview with Shortlist, France said: “Being brown and gay made coming out harder.

“If I were Caucasian, I would have found the process easier. I have to battle so many issues, and the biggest is racism.”

He added: “Being ‘out and proud’ can feel like a real luxury of Western culture, where people are often white and see existing white gay people in their culture.

“They see themselves reflected, so they feel a sense of acceptance. That’s a kind of privilege people don’t know they possess.”

France continued: “I get so many emails from people in the Middle East or Africa saying, ‘Finally we’re seeing someone on our screens that we can relate to!’ Our cultures are very similar.

Queer Eye returned to Netflix screens in June. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“They’re often very strict, conservative and shame-based.”

The 35-year old star, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, described the state as “one of the whitest” in the US, adding: “So it’s a little backwards.”

However, he added: “The people are really good people – they’re very sweet – and I get to represent so many versions of myself. That helps me push an agenda a little and spread the word.

“They get to meet a brown person and I can address misconceptions about the LGBTQ community.”

The second season of Queer Eye hit Netflix screens last month, with the Fab Five making over a transgender man, called Skyler, for the first time. 

Queer Eye season two saw the Fab Five giving a trans man a makeover for the first time. (Austin Hargrave/Netflix)

France had an emotional conversation with Skyler during the episode, admitting that he had been “ignorant” about the issues facing trans people before meeting him.

The fashion guru told Shortlist: “I’d never met a trans person before and although I’m really aware of some of the issues they face, the finer points that a person experiences physically and emotionally when they transition were often things I hadn’t considered.”

Talking about his own knowledge of LGBT+ people, he said: “I’m learning, too. I think a lot of straight people assume that because I’m gay I must understand all aspects of the queer community.”

France also said that he did not come out to his siblings until the start of this year.

“Sexuality can be difficult to articulate and we have to be patient and compassionate,” he said.

More: queer eye, Tan France, US

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