April 30, 2014

We had to share this great piece by Tim Teeman over at The Daily Beast. As news of Barry Manilow's union with his longtime love (and manager and company president) Garry Kief hit the press, Manilow still has yet to officially come out.

Teeman wonders aloud whether now might be the right time...finally. Or if fear will continue to get in Manilow's way toward speaking the truth.

Reports Teeman:

“Barry Manilow just came out,” one of my colleagues shouted, on seeing the news.

But you hadn’t, still haven’t. Because if there’s one thing Barry Manilow doesn’t do is come out. Even when he’s supposedly just married his alleged longtime male partner.

“Alleged,” “supposed”…stupid words, ridiculous words actually. But use them we must, Barry, because like everything about your private life, nothing is known for sure.

And while of course everyone has the right to privacy, Manilow has such a HUGE and devoted fan base, it seems impossible to believe that he wouldn't share the news. And yet share it he did not.

That's right: one of the most famous and beloved musicians of all time is, reportedly, fearful of what his fans might think or say.

Teeman continues:

What saddened me most this week was that people treated your wedding as a joke, another extension of the absurdity of you quelling mention of your sexual orientation. It’s one thing to desire privacy, and quite another to become a figure of fun.

If it’s true you married the love of your life, now is not the time to skulk around in the shadows. You guys should be burning up red carpets, flashing your expensive veneers for the cameras, at every opportunity.

If this is the love of your life, if you loved each other enough to marry each other, fear—the old-school fear of prejudice and rejection—should not be stopping you from formally registering your relationship.

Fear of being found out? Barry, the world has moved on. Whatever airless closet you imposed upon yourself years ago is not fit for purpose today. It is suffocating you. No individual, and no relationship, has to exist in such a deathly casket today.

We hope--truly hope--that Manilow will find this open letter from Teeman and that inspires him to take the step when he feels safe enough to do so. This is the crucial piece, the one that many don't consider: coming out requires not only courage, not only support and love and confidence...it requires a very safe place to do so; not everyone has this safe place, so it is up to us to create those spaces where we can.

In the meantime, we encourage you to visit The Daily Beast and read the letter in its entirety. Perhaps it will inspire you to create a safe space for someone you know or love to take this very big (and sometimes risky) step.