The Sadness In Barry Manilow’s Coming Out

As social media folks responded to music man Barry Manilow’s official “coming out,” my friend Roger Rosen, a talented writer, wrote the following.

I think this addresses an important aspect of the story:

Barry said, “I thought I would be disappointing [the fans] if they knew I was gay. So I never did anything.” There is so much sadness in this quote. We’re taught that the very nature of our being makes us “disappointing.” And while I understand that the majority of his fans have been straight women, I’m fascinated that he can’t even conceive of the fact that some of his fans, gay men, of which he is one, might be thrilled for him to speak his truth.

The idea that we come out of the closet suggests that we must go in. From that first red flag in the back of our heads as little children, we know to lie. It’s self-preservation. While I think it’s probably pretty human to look at Barry Manilow and say, “Really? You couldn’t have done this sooner,” or, “Please, grrl, who DIDN’T know???”, I think it’s probably more useful to create a world where little Barry Manilows everywhere never feel the impulse to go in a closet they then need to come out of.