Barry Manilow officially came out today at the age of 73, and like most people, when I saw his name trending on Twitter, I assumed he died. Nope! I’m super happy for him that he has come out and reveals he’s been with the same partner for 39 years.
Ordinarily, when a celebrity comes out, I just say “yay!” and move on. But what I noticed on Twitter was everyone saying “We already knew.”
And that’s wrong.
No, you didn’t know Barry Manilow was gay. He didn’t say it, so you didn’t know. Your information is all coming from stereotypes. Stereotypes exist for a reason, of course, but just because someone exhibits behavior of that stereotype does not make them that thing.
And this isn’t just in regards to Barry Manilow. This is not an isolated incident. I remember when YouTuber Joey Graceffa came out, every single comment (that wasn’t a homophobic slur) was we already know. And yes, Joey Graceffa is known for his glitter beards and painted nails and effeminate way of speaking. But all of that doesn’t have to mean he’s gay.
This doesn’t just apply to gay people. It happens with people all across the LGBT+ spectrum. And it’s not okay.
You’re allowed to have your suspicions. We all do. I often joke about my ‘gaydar’, but it’s just a joke. You don’t know if someone is queer unless they explicitly state they are.
There’s an article here on what not to say when someone comes out, and I definitely recommend it.
That being said, congrats Barry Manilow! I’m a fan… I think? I mean, I liked a cover of your song on Glee a few years back, so that’s got to count for something.
Edit: Apparently Manilow’s marriage record was released a few years back. The point of this still stands, however.