- In a recent Uber Eats ad, Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness completes an impressive array of gymnastics alongside Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.
- The ad was criticised by at least one conservative group, but welcomed by LGBTQ families.
- Biles said that she would do more ads to promote inclusivity for LGBTQ people.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In a recent Uber Eats ad, legendary Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness complete an impressive array of gymnastics feats while wearing matching green sparkly leotards (Van Ness also wears a pair of green shorts).
After the ad caught the ire of a group of conservative Christian mums, LGBTQ families emphasised that it was important representation.
Van Ness â€” and the rest of the Queer Eye crew â€” have become icons for LGBTQ acceptance in mainstream culture. Last year, Van Ness told Out magazine that he identifies as nonbinary or genderqueer. While he uses he/him pronouns, he doesn’t identify as a man.
LGBTQ families respond
Sa’iyda Shabazz, a queer mum from California, was glad to see Van Ness on screen. Shabazz loves Van Ness’s unabashed embracing of exactly who he is. She hopes that the commercial will open up conversations for families who might not otherwise be talking about gender fluidity.
“I think it’s important for all kids to see all types of LGBTQ+ representation, because the more they see it, the more ‘normal’ it becomes,” she said. “When you talk about it in an abstract sense, then it remains abstract. But when you make it real, kids have something tangible to relate it to. When we explained what non-binary is to my son, we used [Van Ness] as an example.”
Priscilla Blossom, a queer Colorado mum, only saw the commercial when her husband showed her, knowing she would appreciate it.
“Diversity is key in raising compassionate, caring, well-rounded individuals,” she said. “Whether that’s seeing a non-binary individual like Van Ness who frequently blurs traditional gender norms, or seeing an amazingly talented Black gymnast like Simone Biles, or even better, seeing them both shine and simply be happy â€” it helps children figure out who they are and who they want to be.”
She hoped the commercial would have a big impact.
“That’s what we need more of in this society in order to finally break down the biases against and really the hatred against the LGBTQ+ community,” she said.
The video did draw out some of the biases that Blossom hoped it would help fight. The conservative Christian group One Million Mums has said it wants Uber Eats to table the ad because it is “pushing the LGBTQ agenda on families.”
“Instead of making audiences lose their appetite by glamorizing a LGBTQ lifestyle, Uber Eats should focus on what it does and remain neutral on controversial issues,” director Monica Cole wrote in a letter to members.
An accompanying petition to remove the ad said, “Supporting the LGBTQ agenda versus remaining neutral in the culture war is just bad business.”
Biles wasn’t flustered by the criticism.
“The world we live in makes me sad, but I’d do x1000000 more commercials with you just to piss everyone off!” she wrote on Twitter. “The LGBTQIA will always have my support and feel welcome on my socials.”
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