Labels, “identifying” and the danger of both

So, in case any of you missed it, Barry Manilow (a singer who was most famous, as memory serves, back in the 70’s/80’s) has suddenly found it necessary to come out and admit he is gay.

The man is 73. Seems a bit late for whatever it was you thought you’d be doing in your admission, Barry, but I digress.

I saw a comment on the story (or non-story, if you feel as I do, simply because I don’t care who someone chooses to give their affections to, so long as it’s not an adult and a child) which said, simply, “Barry Manilow has come out as gay. Am I supposed to be surprised?” 

My reaction was much more direct and pithy. “So what?”

Friends, The Boot of Truth is that by “identifying” as gay, all Mr. Manilow has done is pigeonhole himself. He’s affixed a label to himself that, to a great many people, says “I have value because of this.” We see it a great deal. You constantly see labels affixed to descriptions of people. Michael Sam wasn’t an NFL player, he was “an openly-gay NFL player.” You see descriptions like, “the noted black/Hispanic/female” added to a person’s job or name, as though that somehow makes them better, more qualified or somehow a special person because of it. Oddly enough, these same groups are the ones who have so many members who so loudly proclaim that they “just want equality” or “just want to be accepted.”

You don’t obtain equality by labeling yourself. That gets you separation, especially when it’s so glaringly obvious that it doesn’t go both ways. (Black Music Awards? Women’s History Month? Don’t hold your breath waiting for the opposite) Your quality comes  because you are. You have it because you exist, and you’re a human being. No label gives that to you. Labels only serve to keep us separated. They allow the “us vs. them” mentality to stay alive and well and keep us fighting with one another. No matter how “good” or for what “good” purpose these labels are used, they are still labels and they still separate us.

Barry Manilow, like Michael Sam and countless others, have that quality. What a shame that either they or others felt that they needed an additional qualifier, an additional title to somehow make them “more” special.

They didn’t – because they already were, just like each of us are.

Just like YOU are.

Remember that the next time some of the PC Thought Police come along and tell you what’s “proper” to say or how to say it and insist you use their labels.  In other words:

“Beware of anyone who describes a human being as something other than human being.”
― George Monbiot

God bless, my friends.