Don’t shit on Barry Manilow’s coming out. It makes you a dick.

That’s right, everyone’s favourite Copacabana crooner has come out at the ripe age of 73.

Before you scoff and start up with your duhs and obviouslys, think about why this is important.

Barry Manilow married a man in 2014. Manilow, while camp as a row of tents and flamboyant to boot, never once addressed his homosexuality to the press or public. He and his husband have been in a relationship since 1978.

His courage may give others the confidence they need to be true to themselves and their loved ones about who they really are.

What I really can’t stand about this story is that people are shooting down his courage. I don’t care if you think your gaydar is 100% accurate (which it can’t be, btw, because sexuality is fluid and far from static – but that’s another rant for another day). You have no right to take this defining moment from anyone, regardless of their celebrity status.

Jezebel published a sarcastic, patronising article about Manilow’s coming out and it pissed me the hell off. I’ll tell you something, Babe, you can take your judgemental attitude and omnipotent gaydar and shove it. Downplaying the importance of any person’s public coming out makes you a dick. End of story.

There he was, a “rich white gay man” as Jezebel dubbed him, and yet he couldn’t be honest with the world about the love he felt for this man because, as he opened up in an interview with People, he thought he would “disappoint fans” if they knew he was gay. I don’t know about you, but I find that heartbreaking.

Coming out at any age is a big deal. My new favourite Netflix show, Grace and Frankie, is testament to that. As Robert, who came out as gay after 40 years of marriage, notes in episode 4  “I’m never not going to come out, am I?” This speaks a great deal to a stigma and unavoidable eventuality for older people and their sexuality.

Sexuality, gender and identity among the older generations are beginning to receive more attention in the press and media. In 2010, Ewan McGregor played the supportive son of Christopher Plummer in the film Beginners, where Plummer’s character comes out as gay. Amazon debuted Transparent in 2014. It follows the story of retired college professor Maura Pfefferman (Jeremy Tambor) and her family’s journey after she opens up about having always identified as a woman.

More recently, Patricia Davis made the headlines in March after publicly declaring her transition at 90 years old. The WWII veteran explained that her late wife was very supportive when she explained her identity and bought Patricia jewellery to wear in private. Now, there’s no stopping Patricia living her life as her true self and advises to others “Don’t worry, as long as you’re happy”.

There has been an increasing visibility in the media about non-hetero-normative relationships and non-binary gender identities, much to my delight. We need to continue shining a light on these stories of people accepting themselves and their identities to encourage others to do the same.

Not everyone realises how daunting coming out can be, even if your peers already think they know how you identity. Barry Manilow is a prime example of that. To reach 73 and finally feel ready to publicly announce that he is gay is courageous and heartwarming. He grew up in a time far less outwardly liberal and with a support network for those of the LGBTQIA community largely muffled by larger society.

We are now seeing individuality, sexuality, gender and identity celebrated in all their vibrant, brilliant, beautiful forms. So much so that the man who brought us Mandy and Can’t Smile Without You is ready to tell the world, not just let them assume, about his sexuality.

Live your best life, Barry.

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Top 5 Fave Females

It’s International Women’s Day!

In celebration of all the women out there who work hard, fight the patriarchy and are generally just Girl Bosses, I’ve put together a list of 5 of my biggest role models and current inspirational women to in my life.

Some who didn’t make the top 5 but are more than deserving of a mention: actual Girlboss Sophia Amoruso, Fearne Cotton (her style though), the unstoppable Viola Davis, Carrie Fisher – may she rest in peace, the fierce and fabulous transgender rights activist Laverne Cox and actor, activist and all round great gal Emma Watson.

There are so many more women I could have mentioned, but I’ve have been here for days. I’ll try and cover some more of my heroes in another post soon!

Anyhow, here they are – my top 5 favourite females:


5. Victoria Beckham

Clichéd? Yes. But I have a hell of a lot of time for this woman. As a kid I was often referred to as The Posh One because of my accent and being a city girl. Spice Girls taught me a lot of things, including the lesson that Posh isn’t negative. Her letter to her younger self published in Vogue really spoke to me, too. Her openness about her lack of confidence, self-image issues and knockbacks sounded a lot like the sorts of feelings I go through in cycles. To hear from someone as accomplished and beautiful as her gave me hope that one day I’ll get over my insecurities, too. She’s a cool, funny lady who adores her kids, creates clothes that are outta this world and she’s totally down to earth. Also her instagram is bangin.


4. Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley

If you haven’t already, you need to watch Dame Stephanie Shirley’s TED Talk. It’s hugely inspirational and motivational. (AND THAT SHIRT!!)

She reminds me that I can aim high and that I need to keep working hard to get to where I want to be. But that I should also have fun while I’m at it. Her life hasn’t been without its hardships, but she never let anything slow her, she only ever approached life in a positive manner and I admire her greatly for that alone. I’m really tempted to apply for a job under a male name to see what happens…


3. Malala Yousafzai

Unless you’ve been living in a hole these past few years, you’ll have heard of how incredible Malala is.

Published by the BBC at 11 on her experiences of living in Taliban-occupied Swat, nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu and nearly assassinated aged 14; Malala has literally been through the wars. She’s one of the most inspirational young women in the world. She’s a world-renowned education rights activist and was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She blows me away with her determination and passion for education. She more than qualifies as one of my fave females.


2. Michelle Obama

A woman who needs no introduction.

Former First Lady, mother, activist, fashion icon and incredible Mom Dancer, this lady doesn’t stop at glass ceilings – she smashes through them time and time again.

There’s also the fact that she can belt it out with James Corden in a car round the White House grounds and KILL IT.

Need I say more?


1. My Mum

Yes, it’s predictable. Yes, it’s true. Mummy Manda is my number one role model. Camera shy, passionate, emotional and the best listener I’ve ever known. Gardening mad, lover of a good smelling candle and sofa napper extraordinaire; she has taught me so much and still has more lessons to impart (not least in the kitchen). I know she’s always there at the end of the phone. Or the end of the road come next week. I love that woman with all my heart.

Mum, you are so incredibly special. Thank you for all your love and support, even when I didn’t really deserve it. I can’t wait to drink too much gin and never look at bubble wrap ever again with you.

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I have cried at every yoga class I’ve been to so far

Since accepting that I am less than happy with my body and general well being, it has been something of a conscious decision on my part to start exercising.


Healthy eating has gone right out the window since I found out I needed to start job hunting again. I’m a comfort eater, so sticking to vegetables and cutting back on carbs hasn’t quite gone to plan. All too often I’m binging on pasta and garlic bread and ice cream and chocolate and maybe a packet of crisps later on in the evening. It’s not healthy, it’s not helping and it’s got to stop.

In terms of exercise, then, yoga seemed like a good place to start. I’ve done it before and enjoyed the deep stretches. It is one of the few forms of exercise that doesn’t trigger my asthma. There’s a class round the road from work that’s 2 hours of Ashtanga practice which offers a good workout as well as meditation. The meditation seemed like a good thing to try and get into the habit of too, for maintaining good mental health.


But yoga isn’t helping. If anything, so far it has only succeeded in making me feel even more self-conscious and defeated by my body’s inabilities and limitations. Despite my teacher maintaining the mantra that “yoga is a practice that can always be improved upon”, I can’t get past the shame and the upset of the situation here and now.

Now I am overweight, I have a belly I can’t stand the sight of and thighs bursting out my jeans. My double chin is back and I don’t look or feel like me. What I see in the mirror isn’t what I see in my mind. I expect something different, something more.

Changing, becoming a better version of myself, is such a big aspiration for me. To see myself and think Yes, I am happy and comfortable in my own skin. Getting to that point seems to be impossible though.


It all feels so hopeless sometimes. I have no motivation to get myself to a place where I’m happy, but I’m desperate to already be there. I suppose it doesn’t help that my hormones are running haywire just now and I’m exhausted from a week of less than stellar sleep (read: next to none).

This leaves me in a place of real confusion. I am a firm believer in body positivity, but feel like a fraud because I struggle with my own body image. I champion people everywhere to love themselves the way they are and accept themselves, but am a hypocrite when I cannot do the same.

Yes, body positivity is a journey. It is a mindset that can only be achieved through hard work and tenacity and love. Keeping up with that can be exhausting and it can feel unattainable. For someone who can be a bit of a perfectionist and hates hypocracy, this can make my dealings with and understand of my own body image all the more difficult and confusing. But body positivity is an empowering force in my life and I do desperately want to arrive at a point where I can happily stand up and appreciate my body for all its flaws and deviations from societal perfection and constructed beauty ideals.

I suppose I felt the urge to share my experience because I know I’m not the only person in this position. I’m not alone in feeling unhappy with my body and frustrated with its limitations. Shameful of the lack of breath climbing stairs, embarrassed when I squat down to the bottom shelf in a shop and struggle to get back up. Mortified when a pair of jeans a size bigger than I’d normally buy won’t button over my belly.

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and the rest of them are filled with motivational messages, success stories and aspirational healthy lifestyles. Like what was highlighted with the See Me “My Unfiltered Life” campaign, what people rarely show is the true struggle it can be to get to that place and just how difficult it can be to maintain long-term.


Where are the selfies of red-faced, tear-stained men and women who have left a gym session early because their bodies couldn’t cope with the “beginner’s class”? Where are the Insta photos of the unhealthy meals – sans #cheatday – instead captioned with the truth, that sometimes you just can’t ignore the cravings or the need to hide behind junk food or not having the energy to prepare a healthy, filling meal after the day/week/month you’ve had.

Yes, these are all excuses for unhealthy behaviour. But we’re all human. Even the healthy stumble along the road. They just dress it up as a cheat day or a treat or over-emphasise the slip up to the point where it just feels fake.


Finding motivation doesn’t really seem to be enough. I’m not too sure yet what is enough, but when I find it I will be holding onto that thing for dear life because serious changes need to be made. I will, however, remain real about my situation and realistic about my expectations. No more searching how to lose 3 stone in as many weeks, no more lemon and salt water fads and definitely no more obsessing over social media accounts.

I’ve cried at every yoga class I’ve been to so far. If I cry at every yoga class I ever go to in the future I can at least be proud that I’m still going.


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