Karan Johar Faces Flak From The Indian LGBTQ Community For Not Explicitly Coming Out

Karan Johar, through the recent release of his biography, ‘An Unsuitable Boy’, put several doubts to rest about his sexual orientation, losing his virginity and his relationship with Shah Rukh Khan. However, with regards to his sexual orientation, Karan didn’t exactly come out of the closet but rather rendered his closet transparent.

Karan Johar faced significant flak from the LGBTQ community after he refused to explicitly come out of the closet. He justified the same by stating that he did not want to be jailed or face FIRs by saying the three letter word.

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The community pointed out that Karan’s statement about the matter was misinformed and would make many others have the same baseless fear in their minds.

 

Activist Mayank Shekhar asserted that section 377 does not apply to your sexual orientation.

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“What Karan was referring to was Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexual intercourse. However, it does not criminalise sexual orientation.”

Basically, the archaic section 377 can do you no harm if you decide to come out.

 

Another noted activist Pallav Patankar was disappointed and felt let down by Karan Johar.

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“If an uneducated person in a remote Indian village comes and tells me that they are scared of coming out, I’d take it, but this coming from somebody with a stature as big as Karan’s, I feel let down. He should be coming out as an empowered and powerful individual, and actually make a difference for those helpless people living in villages. People who were earlier considering coming out will now sit and think twice, worried that an FIR might be involved — but this is baseless. You won’t be arrested for coming out.”

 

The Humsafar Trust which pioneered the national movement for rights of sexual minorities was also disappointed with Karan’s baseless fears issued a statement about the matter.

“To come out is Karan’s personal choice, but he should not misinform. His present statement encourages homophobia and gay bashing to bully the LGBTQ community in private and public spaces.”

 

Romal Laishram, a queer rights activist, did understand where Karan was coming from.

“We’ve always known about Karan’s sexuality, and always hoped that he’d be Bollywood’s first celebrity to come out. It would make a world of a difference if he openly stated that he was gay. That said, we also understand the amount of pressure we’re placing on one individual, and so most of us just hoped. With a statement like this, nothing much is left to one’s imagination and that’s a good thing. We only wish he’d interacted with the community enough to understand that he cannot be jailed just for being gay. The dreaded IPC Section 377 only comes into play if one man is caught in a sexual act with another man, it doesn’t give the police the power to criminalise one’s identity.”

 

Some also lauded the director for at least coming out in a limited way.

 

Harish Iyer, another activist, felt that Karan did not owe coming out to anyone.

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“Though his closet is made of transparent glass, I defend Karan’s right to not spell the three words out. Karan Johar doesn’t owe a coming out to anybody.”

When you’re in a volatile industry like entertainment, public image is paramount. If explicitly coming out of the closet may make Karan Johar lose favour among a significant segment of his audience, I do understand his fear against coming out. However, I do agree that making such misinformed statements is certainly hurting the national movement for the rights of sexual minorities.

You will not be jailed for coming out about your sexual orientation.

News Source: Mid-Day

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