Season 3 of Queer Eye premiered on Netflix a little over a week ago, and I’ve already binged the entire season, thrown out every pair of capri pants I’ve mistakenly worn this summer, and reintroduced, “Yas, Queen!” into my vocabulary.
The Fab Five is back and just when I thought I had no more tears left to cry, the guys helped get one woman’s confidence back, helped another accept who she is, and gave a father what he needed to repair his relationship with his son.
Yup – I was more moved than Antoni when he sees someone slicing an avocado.
Also read: "Alex and my kids are my everything": Jennifer Lopez and her new fiancé make life as a blended family look easy
But in episode 2 of the new season, when Karamo Brown – our culture expert, cry guy and a licensed psychotherapist and social worker – shared how he only found out about and met his son in 2007 when his boy was already 10-years-old, we were pleasantly surprised and similarly moved after hearing his story of his “modern family”.
Opening up in a video for Parents, Karamo explained that when he was 15, and before he came out, he met his son’s mother who soon became his best friend. “Neither of us came from the best home environments at that time and we found comfort in being able to share our pain with each other. And, uhm, lost our virginity to each other."
Shortly after, Stephanie moved away and so did he. They lost contact until 2007, when Karamo received paperwork from the state of Texas for child support for Jason, the son he never knew.
Karamo says he was 20 and “selfish”, and understandably so – up until then the only person he had to take care of was himself. He was completely overwhelmed, his son was too.
Jason said he was scared and wondered if he even wanted to meet his dad. “But when I actually literally met him and hugged him, it was so cool,” he explained. “It felt like I was missing something like that for a long time.”
Karamo soon adapted, and he says that while he missed so many moments with his son, he’s so thankful to have had so many others. “I got to experience so many other moments. I got to experience teeth coming out, I got to experience first dates and dances.”
In 2007, Karamo was granted full custody of Jason, with the permission of Jason’s mother. And after spending much of his time with Jason’s half-brother, Christian, Karamo was later granted custody of Christian.
“She [Stephanie] and I had another conversation and said, ‘Listen, Jason is doing well, Christian is doing well, how about they both come and stay with me and I’ll be his legal guardian and we make this work.”
“Again, being one of the most supportive and loving women I’ve ever met in my life, [she] said yes. ‘If there’s an opportunity you can give my children that I can’t give them, why am I gonna hold that back? Just make sure that we’re still a family.’”
Christian describes Karamo as “loving”, “supportive” and “hands-on” with his “plan, do, say” attitude that encourages his boys to come to him with just about everything. “If I need help with anything, or I have any concerns about anything in life, or if I just need to talk, I can just go to my father and have an honest conversation about what’s going on.”
Karamo admits that it hasn’t been a walk in the park though. “Being in social work, I knew that it was not to force a relationship it was to let it grow organically.” And while it took some time, everything worked out and sort of fit into place over the years.
So on life, love and his “modern family”, he concludes,
“My family looks different. People will see all of us and they’ll think we’re brothers and they’re like, ‘Oh, look at these brothers, where are your parents?’ and I’m like, ‘No, I’m dad.’ And then my partner walks up whose like 10 years my senior and is white with grey hair, and they’re like, 'Who's that?’ And it works. And then my sons’ mother walks up and we’re all together and they’re like, ‘What’s going on here?’ But it works because we’re a family and at the end of the day we love each other and support each other.
“When I think about what makes a modern family today it’s, first of all, love. Because it doesn’t matter if the children are biologically yours, it doesn’t matter if a parent is a stepparent, or if they’re your grandma or your grandpa, or if they’re of different races or sexual orientations, gender identities... we all want the same thing. We just want our children to wake up and feel like it’s okay to smile. There’s no reason for us to want to discriminate or hate against someone else because at the end of the day we all just want the same thing. A happy, healthy life and family.”
What is your definition of family? Tell us and we may publish your story.