Noted producer and director Karan Johar came out of the closet recently and it is not everything you’d hoped for. The coming out, listed in his biography titled The Unsuitable Boy, is pure BS and here’s why. It doesn’t state his sexuality explicitly and the reason is that Johar doesn’t want to deal with FIRs.
There are a couple of other things from his statement which annoyed me like a factual fallacy so, let’s break it down, shall we? Now, it is no secret to anyone that Karan Johar is not heterosexual. And if it is then, you have the worst gaydar ever. Johar himself has admitted it to be a known fact however, he hesitated in putting a stamp on it. The producer/director “came out” in his biography where 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. Which is why I Karan Johar will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me in any case.” FYI, IPC Section 377 criminalises gay sex not, homosexuality per se.
Anybody who has even a smidgen of self-respect and has been questioned and criticised about their identity doesn’t feel like crawling back into a cave. No, it makes them want to take a stand for themselves when no one else would back them up. Coming out can be debilitating but, I speak from experience. All you need to proclaim your sexuality is one positive response. That is all.
For someone of his stature, Johar could have been the quintessential representative of a sect that has been long shamed, abused and thanks to our regressive laws, even convicted.
“I’ve given hints. I’ve stood on a platform like AIB Roast, and I had half of the people supporting me and the other half dissing me for doing this. But at the end of the day, I did what I did, and I did it with my mother in the front row, and screw you if you have a problem with that,” he says. “I’ve given hints”? I have never heard of anyone ever making a strong statement with mere hints. For someone trying to sound as courageous as he is, he could’ve done it unabashedly, just like he claims that he did.
I wouldn’t deny that I never truly respected the man especially after the way he dealt with the ban imposed on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Instead of standing up for Fawad Khan and other Pakistani artistes, he restrained his statements and said what people needed to hear just so that they would go and watch his film. This man is willing to alter his ideals for business. That is not a respectable figure.
At first, I respected his desire to stay quiet about his sexuality for that feeling of security in your own nation. Everyone deserves to have that. But then it hit me that everyone deserves to have that. So, if Karan Johar, being the celebrity that he is with a means to affect people’s mindsets, backs out, who is going to uplift the others who are worse off than he is? As a celebrity, a citizen of this country and as an individual of the LGBTQ+ community, it is his duty to help bring forth the change that he is whining about. If your country doesn’t make you feel safe, that is the time to work towards the betterment of the society instead of cutting and running. It is understandable that coming out is no obligation for him just because he’s a celebrity. Neither is helping someone who’s getting raped/molested/abused but, one does it as an act of empathy regardless.
I know we shouldn’t have to come out and heterosexuality should not be treated as the default sexual orientation but, that is what it is now. You work with it to create a more optimistic future where you don’t have to put a thumbtack on a note reading “I am gay.” But, one must also realise that this is not that time.
“I don’t want to be iconic anywhere. I want to live my life. The reason I don’t say it out aloud is simply that I don’t want to be dealing with the FIRs. I’m very sorry. I have a job, I have a commitment to my company, to my people who work for me; there are over a hundred people that I’m answerable to,” he says. That is the one point where he is barely making sense. Although, why is he only showing compassion to the people relying on him? What about the thousands who are berated for loving the people that they do, and the millions who stifle themselves in heterosexual marriages?
He adds, “I’ve reached a point in my life where I am not going to conform to what people think I should be saying or doing. So if you have an opinion about my sexuality, then screw you. I don’t care.” Mr. Johar, you’re at a point where you might as well just shove your fingers in your ears and scream bloody murder like a child so you can’t hear a counter-argument. One can’t excuse himself out of an opportunity to help someone simply because they’re in trouble themselves.
So, to the people who say that they respect him for coming out, I say this- find yourself a better role model.