Picture this: David Letterman and Jonathan Van Ness walk into a bar…bershop.
Netflix got the “Queer Eye” hair stylist and the famed former “Late Night” host together for an interview — and this time, Letterman was in the hot seat.
As Van Ness worked magic on Letterman’s “post-retirement beard” and applied various waxes and beard oils, the two engaged in a conversation about self-care, identity and the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising — a watershed moment for LGBTQ civil rights. You can watch the full interview above.
“That is someone who looks like they are ready to sign a treaty at Fort Sumter, honey,” Van Ness said of Letterman’s Santa-like beard, which Letterman would he not allow to be trimmed under any circumstances.
Van Ness identifies as non-binary — which means they neither identify as male or female. But Van Ness acknowledges that change takes time, and it’s a learning process for everyone.
“It’s okay not to know all the definitions, or all the answers,” Van Ness said.
The conversation then turned to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, also known as the Stonewall Riots. The events were a demonstration by the gay community of New York against a police raid at popular gay bar the Stonewall Inn between June 28 and July 1, 1969. They are considered to be the tipping point of the Gay Liberation Movement.
“This is the neighborhood where Stonewall is. This is the route I used to take home every night from work,” Letterman said of the neighborhood where the barbershop was.
“I didn’t even understand until this Pride Month the amount of oppression and violence that the LGBTQ community faced at the hands of the police,” Van Ness said, explaining that 50 years ago, Van Ness would have been arrested for wearing two or more clothing items “of the opposite sex.”
“To me that is stunning that was illegal only 50 years ago. It seems primitive,” Letterman said.
“There is 7 billion people in the world that all experience life in a different, unique way, there is that many different, unique ways that gender and sexuality can be expressed, too,” Van Ness said.