Ever since Karan Johar’s veiled coming out in his autobiography ‘ An Unsuitable Boy’, homosexuality has managed to come into limelight all over again. It is in the midst of this that Everest actor Saattvic penned down a moving letter about his own sexual orientation and how coming out of the closet is the need of the hour.
Saattvic, unlike most other gay men of his industry, has not come out now but did so long back. Studying in London and prior to that in Stephen’s in Delhi, he was gay and proud and very open about it. This is exactly what sets his letter apart. He was never one of the closet, but was pushed back in by the pressures of the industry he is so passionately a part of.
In his letter he talks about his openness regarding his homosexuality before he decided to be a part of the television industry,
In London, I was an out and proud gay man. In fact, I was an out and proud gay man when I was 20 – my first public coming out was during my third year at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi. My parents have always known, and they’ve always accepted it. At home, it was always a non-issue. I’ve been lucky throughout my life to find acceptance more often than not, and as a result being gay has never really been a big part of my life. It occupied as much headspace as me being Punjabi, vegetarian, a musician, an actor, etc. – it was just another part of me.
Now you might think why someone who was already out of the closet would need to go back into it. After all, closets are claustrophobic and known to kill dreams. In Saattvic’s case however, his dream to act is what made him choose the closet all over again. In his own words, this is why:
Naïve little me was quite gung-ho about moving to Mumbai.
However, almost from the moment I landed, I was told by insiders to hide my sexual orientation from the industry. I realised that society had not moved on as quickly as the law had. I was told that the audience will not accept an openly gay actor, so nothing of this should ever get to the media. Casting directors would not cast you in a lead role because how can a gay man romance a woman? This meant that any overtly gay Facebook posts had to come down. It also meant that you hid it from everyone in the industry, because you never know who might say what to the media or casting directors. Whether or not any of these concerns are real is not the point – for a young aspirant who is made to believe something like this can make or break a career, they were real enough.
Without pointing any accusing fingers or even mildly criticizing Karan Johar’s coming out, Saattvic nails his argument in his blog. He beautifully wraps it up by saying,
You don’t need to be an activist and your life does not need to be defined by being gay. You just need to do your little bit by coming out, and sensitizing the people around you. So, please, if you are in a position to do so, come out.
Albeit unconventional, Saattvic’s letter published on the micro-blogging website Born of web is bound to help gay men in India gather the courage to come out of the closet.