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  • Writer's pictureJeanElie

Insecure's New Gay Character Gave a Quick Lesson in Code-Switching

Insecure has added a gay character.

The HBO dramedy introduced its audience Sunday to Ahmal, the gay brother of series protagonist Issa Dee (Issa Rae).

Ahmal, played by Jean Elie (American Crime, Alvinnn!!! and the Chipmunks), debuted at a party in the season 2 premiere, where he arrived as Issa’s date. “Your brother is your plus one?” asked an incredulous Molly (Yvonne Orr), Issa's best friend.

“You said we had a lot in common! Ahmal, did you call mom back?” Issa asked. After a negative response, she replied, “Me neither. See?”

Ahmal’s scene was short. But it offered a telling lesson in how queer people code-switch based on factors like gender and sexual orientation. When greeting a straight male friend, he said, “Hey, bro, what up?” with a warm hand-slap and half-hug. With a female friend, his tone immediately shifted. Ahmal’s voice rose several octaves as he screamed her name, "Tiffany" (Amanda Seales), with enthusiasm. She responded in kind, smiling and snapping.

Ahmal also threw shade at another character, Kelli (Natasha Rothwell), and her coat.

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