It’s been a little over 24 hours since Barry Manilow shocked the world by announcing he is a homosexual, prompting a wide range of responses.
From feeling stunned:
Totally stunned about the Barry Manilow news. Next thing someone's going to tell me is that Motley Crue did drugs.
— Jimmy's Fake News (@jneutron1969) April 5, 2017
All this time I thought Barry Manilow was a lesbian.
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 5, 2017
Barry Manilow coming out as gay has given me the strength and courage to come out as an African-American.
— King Natles (@natnatles) April 5, 2017
Now, in a new think piece for the Boston Globe, Patrick Garvin has some choice words for those of you cracking jokes at Barry’s expense.
This is how the cycle works: A person who might be assumed to be LGBTQ is considered in the closet until announcing it. Now that Manilow is out as gay, people feel comfortable saying whether they were surprised or not, as if his personal life is a plot that they can comment on like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. It’s all fair game to the masses, who will feel OK judging when he should have come out or whether he should have been in the closet in the first place.
Garvin says this isn’t the first time this sort of things has happened either, pointing to Neil Patrick Harris coming out in 2006, Sean Patrick Hayes in 2010, and Anderson Cooper in 2012 as other examples.
“The snarky social media posts not only highlight our insatiable need to comment on the lives of the rich and famous,” he continues, “but the dichotomy of experiences between people who are straight and cisgender and people who are not.”
Straight and cis is considered the default. There’s no coming out as straight or cisgender. In our society, it’s LGBTQ people who must bear the burden of disclosing their truths. And with that disclosure come the comments, whether you’re famous or not.
The whole thing, he says, can be “draining.”
Garvin isn’t the only one who finds the response to Manilow’s coming out upsetting. Plenty of folks on Twitter felt the need to scold people as well:
If you're making fun of Barry Manilow for coming out at age 73, maybe you're the reason people wait so long.
— Tim Federle (@TimFederle) April 6, 2017
If so many of you assholes knew Barry Manilow was gay y'all should've spent your time making a safer environment for him &other closeted ppl
— angelica renée ? (@ReinaDeLaIsla) April 6, 2017
Barry Manilow has been in a 39yr relationship w/ a man he loves & they felt they had to hide it. This should piss you off. #LoveIsLove
— Michael Peckerar (@michaelpeckerar) April 5, 2017
Well done on Barry Manilow on having the courage to come out. Those joking they knew, this isn't about you. It takes courage to come out.
— James Prescott (@JamesPrescott77) April 5, 2017
Lot of people seem really proud of themselves for announcing they "already knew" Barry Manilow was gay. Yeah……ur the true heroes today guys.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) April 5, 2017
Garvin concludes by writing:
I know that whenever I am talking with a friend or a new acquaintance about these topics, the questions never come from a place of judgment. But it’s this type of scrutiny — and the idea that others feel entitled to make these comments about our orientation — that gives many queer people anxiety about how to come out in the first place.
What do you think? Are all the jokes and wisecracks about Barry Manilow coming out helpful or hurtful? Share your thoughts in the comments below…