As the culture expert on Netflix's Queer Eye, Karamo Brown has a serious knack for doling out life-changing advice to the individuals featured on the show. And while there's no denying the guys kicked the transformations up a notch in season five, we found ourselves particularly touched by some of the parenting advice Karamo gave throughout the episodes.
Over the years, Karamo has been forthcoming about having two sons — Jason "Rachel" Brown and his half-brother, Chris, whom Karamo officially adopted in 2011 — despite the fact he didn't find out he had a kid until a subpoena for child support showed up at his door when Jason was 10.
"The adjustment process was challenging at times. New house means new rules and expectations not just for the children but for me — the parent — as well."
"I came out at 16 years old as a proud, gay man. My last girlfriend in high school — when I was 15 — became pregnant with my child but did not tell me," Brown told Parents in 2018. "She moved away, and I never had contact with her again; remember this is before social media."
When he first found out about Jason, Karamo was taken aback, but he quickly began to embrace fatherhood. "I was confused, sad, angry, and weirdly excited to be a dad, but felt lost nonetheless," he said. "We were both kids and don't blame her for the decision she made because the choice was not hers, it was the adults around us."
Although he's had a unique journey to parenthood, Karamo doesn't regret it for a second. "The adjustment process was challenging at times. New house means new rules and expectations not just for the children but for me — the parent — as well," he explained. "Navigating each other's expectations, the move-in, diet, friends, school, and homework can be overwhelming." He added: "Take it one day at a time, never lose your cool and do just as much listening as you do talking."
In November 2019, Karamo coauthored a children's book, I Am Perfectly Designed, with Jason. According to The Advocate, the project was an incredible opportunity for the pair to bond over important life lessons.
"I think for me, first off, [the book's title, I Am Perfectly Designed] was something my dad has always told me since I was younger," Jason said in a November 2019 interview. "It's like a mantra at this point for me — it's something I just live by, and it kind of made sense. Whenever he'd asked me if I wanted to write a book, I had the perfect idea for it... I was like, 'Dad, we should literally do the lesson you've always taught me, which is that I'm perfectly designed.' And we formatted it as a kid's book and it came out phenomenally."
Although the message in I Am Perfectly Designed is uplifting, Jason admits that he was reluctant to open up to his dad about identifying as pansexual at first. "We have such a good connection of communication and I never hide anything from my dad, so when he heard this — and he was not the first person to hear this — I could sense that it kind of hurt him," Jason explained, "and that's why it transferred to a little bit of frustration."
It took a few hours for Karamo to process the information, however, he eventually called Jason to tell him he loved him.
"So when Jason let me into his life regarding him identifying as pansexual, there was a myriad of feelings that I had," Karamo said. "First, he didn't let me into his life regarding being pansexual until he was 21. This is a young man who grew up in a household where his father is a career gay. You know, like, I've literally been on television, open and proud about my sexuality, worked in social services with LGBT youth, he was around LGBT youth and adults, he's seen the healthy relationship that I've been in for 10 years — yet there was still a fear in his mind of sharing with me. When he shared with me that he identified as pan, I was, first of all, disappointed.... I was a little hurt."
Unsure of what being pansexual truly meant for his son at first, Karamo immediately began educating himself. "I didn't know what that meant for him," Karamo said. "I felt betrayed by him lying to me and I had to go on this journey quickly, really quickly, to educate myself and then to remember this is his journey. He can let me into his life when he wanted, and I had to do all the steps that I teach parents in a quick span so that I could then be there to support him and show him love and acceptance."
Keep scrolling to get a look at Karamo's blended family through the years!