As we recently reported, one of the stories that flew under the radar during the Election Day/Week/Lifetime maelstrom was Simone Biles taking to Twitter to stand up for the LGBTQ community and, specifically, Jonathan Van Ness.
At issue was an Uber Eats commercial featuring the Olympic gold medalist and the Queer Eye star wearing matching leotards and performing floor routines that were each impressive in their own way.
What is perhaps most watchable about the ad is that Van Ness is being his out and proud non-binary self every second that he’s onscreen. JVN absolutely flaunts the green sequined leotard look to C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” and pulls off a series of “Holy cow, that’s not a double” roundoffs in an unedited long shot.
It seems pretty clear that there were no nervous ad executives giving notes about “toning it down” or “reeling it in” or any other euphemism for “This might make the straights uncomfortable.”
So far, the only ones upset with it are One Million Moms who, as GLAAD has pointed out, should actually be called One Mom Who Has No Concept of the Phrase “Rounding Error.” And Biles dispatched them with one Tweet like they were a Russian floor routine.
the world we live in makes me sad, but I’d do x1000000 more commercials with you just to piss everyone off! The LGBTQIA will always have my support and feel welcome on my socials https://t.co/CMOrz0nxFZ— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) November 3, 2020
This is also not the first time the sports world and JVN have blended perfectly. Back in June 2019, the Chicago Cubs invited Van Ness to throw out the first pitch and sing during the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field.
As you would expect, JVN belted “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in all his glory, rocking a Rollie Fingers-esque handlebar mustache and being as comfortably and unapologetically himself in the Wrigley broadcast booth as he is walking into any hair salon on Queer Eye.
Great job on a fab 7th inning stretch, @jvn! pic.twitter.com/POSVwMq6YL— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 7, 2019
A few years prior, it wouldn’t have been hard to imagine this moment being played for cringey laughs. Because JVN openly challenges so many traditionally masculine norms, this could have been portrayed as a gimmicky stunt like the infamous Ozzy Osbourne or Mike Ditka stretches.
Instead, it became the opposite: a celebration. JVN was clearly having a blast and embodying the spirit of the song while at the same time putting his own personal stamp on it. And if the crowd shots were any indication, the fans were loving it and getting into that spirit too. Which is what the stretch is all about going back to the days when Harry Caray led it during every game.
In both of these examples, Van Ness crossed over with the sports world without compromise. With Biles and the Cubs supporting him as his authentic self, the message is clear: you are welcome here and you are welcome to be exactly who you are.
If that’s the case, I don’t care if we ever get back.