For years it's been an unspoken speculation in the fan world. Is Barry gay? Pictures have surfaced causing massive speculation by the fans. There have been occasional stories, references in books, and the press has pushed the issue. But Barry has remained close mouthed--refusing to speak of his personal life in no uncertain terms.
Those who have lived in Palm Springs have told friends who are fans that it was common knowledge among the locals. There are stories from those who have worked with him alluding to the fact that he is definitely gay. But still the speculation continued. Until this past week when a story broke in the National Enquirer and got picked up by reputable sources: he had married his manager Garry Kief at a private ceremony at his home a year ago. And Twitter and Facebook exploded. "Manilow married" was trending on Twitter all day on Wednesday. People were retweeting tweets confirming the truth to the story.
Let me say first that I could care less. I never understood why people seem to think that a person's sexual orientation defines who they are. It's just one aspect of their life and it has nothing to do with the work they produce. Of course I have my own views on the subject, but that is irrelevant. They are my views, and my views alone. With that said, the human theater on social media is something to write about. And let the claws come out!
Those who are angry
The gay organizations and those who profess this lifestyle are angry with him for keeping it a secret for years. They voice their frustration with the fact that he kept it hidden and could have helped others who were dealing with "coming out" or being bullied.
Those who continue to live in denial
These fans won't believe it unless it comes from the horse's mouth. I have news--he's never going to say a word about it. If we've learned anything over the years it's that he knows how to keep silent and as he says "his private life is private." And yet, they still believe that until he confirms or denies, it's not true. Living in denial is much easier than facing reality.
Those who feel the need to offer congratulations
News flash. He could care less about his fans' congratulations. If he did, he would have announced it when it happened. He kept it a secret for a reason. Didn't you know? His private life is private. He doesn't need the fans' approval or congratulations. I would think long and hard before mailing a present (or giving him a wedding gift at a Platinum).
Those who feel they were betrayed
Why weren't they told? After all, they are his fans and he has said over and over again that he loves us. Right? If you feel betrayed, you're too invested in his private life and need to take a step back. His private world has nothing to do with his music. News flash--he didn't betray you--he made a decision related to his life, not yours. He doesn't owe you an explanation.
Those who champion gay rights
Of course, there are those fans who feel the need to pat him on the back and wish him happiness. Then they proceed to list all the members of their family who are gay. As if that has anything to do with the news. I'm sure we would all prefer that those fans "keep their private life private."
Those whose love was lost
Whether this is true or not (and it most likely is), a bubble has been burst in the hearts of many fans. It's possible he's unavailable. It's possible he is taken. And worse yet, it's possible he prefers the company of men (or a man) over women. It's a very tough pill to swallow for some fans who were convinced he loved them and only them.
Wake up and see the elephant in the room!
Let me reiterate again that I do not care if the rumors and stories are true. For some, it won't be true until they hear it from his mouth. But what I do care about is the way he and his management have messed with, manipulated, and played with these women's emotions. Knowing full well that as long as these women believe he's "available" they will keep buying tickets and pouring all their money into Platinums, trips, and other Manilow related events hoping against hope that he will notice them. Some might say if these women are gullible enough to believe it, they deserve it. But he has hyped up his sexuality over and over again to his female fans and that is deception.
He and his management team have laughed and joked and even played games with these women over the years. That's just plain cruel. I never liked it and now we know why they found it to be so amusing. He has claimed over and over again to love his fans. That's not my idea of love--you don't intentionally hurt the ones you care about.