While all of Indian media is busy lauding Karan Johar for the “brave” things he has said in his upcoming biography, some of us feel honor-bound to call him out on his “almost” coming out.
Calling Karan Johar brave for hinting at, but never actually stating, the fact that he is gay, makes about as much sense as his rumored wedding to Ekta Kapoor. Go figure!
Anyone who has spent five minutes listening to Karan Johar talk will know that he doesn’t miss an opportunity to make oblique statements about his sexual orientation. And when he’s not busy hinting at his gayness, he makes movies that hint at, or make fun of, or generally stereotype being gay. ‘Dostana’, or SOTY, or ‘Kapoor & Sons’ — they’ve all got gay sub-plots, without the word “gay” ever really being mentioned.
So basically, Karan Johar spends a whole lot of time not talking about the big gay elephant in the room. And that is exactly what he did again when he said,
Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. And if I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this.
For someone like Karan Johar, who enjoys a position of privilege and exploits his sexuality every chance he gets, to refuse to say that he is gay is a cowardly thing to do. It is a despicable thing to do. It is a selfish thing to do.
Karan Johar is a hypocrite for not saying the three words that could have made a massive difference to the way gay people are treated in this country — like deviants and pariahs, like they are not “normal”.
He could have broken out of the closet, and in so doing, he could have freed so many gay people who continue to live in fear, simply because they do not enjoy the privileges he does — the transgender person who is terrorized by a cop into performing sexual favors, for fear of being jailed, or that teenager in small-town India whose friends make fun of her/him because s/he is different.
Karan Johar could have been brave, instead he chose to wuss out! Instead of making a statement about his sexuality he chose to cower behind Section 377.
For those that do not know this, Section 377 DOES NOT make it a crime for anyone to say, “I am gay”. Section 377 criminalizes all sexual activity “against the order of nature”, which means it criminalizes sexual acts that do not result in procreation — anal sex, oral sex, hand jobs and such like — and it is applicable on the gay and straight alike.
Karan Johar shirks all responsibility saying,
I don’t want to be iconic anywhere. I want to live my life.
But when you spend your life making a living off of being gay, it’s only fair that when the time comes, you find the courage to sack up and say you are!
In one moment, he could have chosen to step out of the glass closet he so comfortably inhabits, and given hope to the thousands of queer Indians who fight for the right to be. He could have come out, loud and proud, but instead he chose not to say “those three words”. For shame!