Celebrating Pride With… Bobby Berk: Elton John Was The ‘First LGBTQ Icon I Had To Look Up To’
‘Queer Eye’ star Bobby Berk spoke with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about how he’s celebrating Pride Month this year, why Elton John is his LGBTQ ‘inspiration,’ and why Pride is all about ‘visibility.’
Bobby Berk, 38, is celebrating Pride Month a little differently this year. Last year, Bobby and his Queer Eye castmates had a float at the World Pride Parade in New York. This year, given the coronavirus pandemic, Bobby’s celebrations will be virtually-orientated, but he told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that he’ll be focusing on “really teaching people the history of LGBTQ community” on his platforms.
The Queer Eye star revealed why Elton John, 73, is such an “inspiration” to him. Bobby even got to co-host Elton’s Oscars viewing party earlier this year! Bobby also discussed why “visibility” is so important for the LGBTQ community and how Queer Eye shows the world “that we are just like everyone else.”
1. How are you going to be honoring Pride Month as people are staying at home and quarantining?
Bobby Berk: Definitely very virtually. We’re going to be doing a lot of great LGBTQ history content on BobbyBerk.com and on social, just really teaching people the history of LGBTQ community. How a lot of the rights that we have in the community now started as riots and started as protests. It’s kind of fitting for what’s going on in the world at the moment to remind people that sometimes it does take people going into the streets to get things to change. So we’ll be talking a lot about the history of Pride and what it is.
2. How would you normally celebrate Pride Month?
Bobby Berk: Last year, the boys and I had our own float at the World Pride Parade in New York, so we’re usually in the parade. The year before that I was marrying couples on the float for Lyft. It’s normally a lot of events that we make appearances at, so this will be a very unique and quiet Pride for us.
3. What advice do you have for someone in the LGBTQ community who is celebrating their first Pride this year?
Bobby Berk: Hang in there till next year [laughs]. Be in contact with your fellow LGBTQ people and allies as much as possible and as safely possible. It’s really hard to give blanket advice right now just because different places have different issues with social distancing. In some places, it’s not as bad as others. Just be with your fellow people and your family and your chosen family as much as you can.
4. Do you have an ultimate LGBTQ icon?
Bobby Berk: I would say Uncle Elton [John]. He’s been an inspiration to me since I was young. He was the first LGBTQ icon I had to look up to. Somebody that was out with a partner and with the success you didn’t see very often. There were so many people in Hollywood and entertainment up until that point who… there were rumors, but it was never talked about. They never came out. But Elton’s always been that beacon and has done so much for the community. This year, we had the amazing opportunity to host his Oscars party for him because he had been nominated for Rocketman and had to be at the Oscars. It was very much a pinch-me moment. I can’t believe Elton John asked me to host this party. The last few years I’ve met people in Hollywood that I always looked up to, and they always say don’t meet your heroes. I have been very disappointed at some points. And then you meet Elton and you just want to squeeze him. Elton and David [Furnish] are just so freaking sweet. It’s so nice and so refreshing. I can tell the people who are just playing that part in public of the sweet person. But you could tell with Elton it was genuine and David it was genuine. That made me really, really happy.
5. What does Pride mean to you?
Bobby Berk: Pride to me is all about visibility. There are so many people out there who, to their knowledge, don’t know of any gay people. They’ve never hung out with any gay people, and they only have in their mind what often they’ve been told in a church, which is never positive. I shouldn’t say never — it’s often not positive. So to me, Pride is about visibility. That’s one of the biggest things about our show is visibility, showing the world that we are just like everyone else, showing our heroes when we come into their homes that we’re just like anyone else. The fact that we’re gay and nonbinary is just way down on the list. We’re just normal people, and to me, that’s what Pride is about. It’s about visibility and making sure that everyone sees who we are, that we’re their brothers or their sisters or their siblings or their mothers or their fathers.
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