Reacting to the disclosure made by actor Kal Penn that he is gay, the entire LGBT South Asian community says “One of us”. Mr. Penn is the star of the Harold & Kumar film franchise.
Kal Penn recently revealed to People magazine that he is currently engaged to his partner Josh after dating him for the last 11 years.
He further stated that he kept this information from those outside his ‘shy’ inner circle.
The above revelations came as a surprise to all just ahead of his new book “You Can’t Be Serious”.
Kal Pen was born as Kalpen Suresh Modi and is known for playing some memorable roles like Kumar Patel in the Harold & Kumar buddy stoner comedy franchise.
Some of his other contributions include popular Tv series How I Met Your Mother, Designated Survivor and House.
Another achievement of Mr. Penn is that he has worked under the Obama administration in the White House Office of Public Engagement between 2009 to 2011.
At one time, BBC had once pointed out why he worked for a president who had still not come out in favor of gay marriage at that point of time.
And this is what it was disclosed, “In the case of the White House,” he said, “your role as an aide is to abide by the oath you took (to protect and defend the constitution, etc) but internally you also have a chance to advocate for certain policies to change and evolve.
“It can be super frustrating that politics moves so slowly, but I’m also really glad for the outcome of a lot of that work.”
The actor told to the magazine that he has been casual to people whom he gets a chance to interact.
But the problem is that his fiancée and his family members don’t like him to be open or to be in the limelight. And he respects them as what they think.
Take a look at what South Asians have to say about the sudden disclosure by Mr Penn.
A 39 year old gay man Naveen Kumar says, “It was “the most thrilling kind of surprise”
“For me, it’s now a person in pop culture that I can point out to my parents,” he tells the BBC. “Here’s someone who they have been watching on TV and movies since the 90s.”
He further adds that he’s looking forward to attend his big fat gay wedding.
Another person Fenit Nirappil who has proposed to his fiancé this June are going to be married this year.
This is what he has to say, “It was the final stage of coming out for me when I announced my engagement, and all the extended relatives and family friends either got their suspicions confirmed or learned the truth,” he says.
“There was plenty of grumbling that it’s one thing for me to be gay and marry a man but I should be more discreet to avoid bringing embarrassment to relatives.”
“Desi [South Asian diaspora] youth are constantly compared to others and told over and over again that their value is closely tied to who they marry,” he notes. “It matters when one of the few widely known Indian American actors can be open about being in a same-sex relationship.”
Mr Penn later added to People Magazine that he discovered his sexuality quite late in his life unlike other individuals.
Last year, the Toronto native was crowned the inaugural winner of Canada’s Drag Race. But some family members are still too “scared” to even watch the show.
Queer brown performers get crowded out in white-male-dominated media spaces, says Priyanka, so Mr Penn’s mainstream success as a comedian popular among straight males makes his coming out story an even bigger deal.
“It excites me that Kal Penn is doing this at his age because, for one person’s coming out story, there’s still one hundred more people that are in the closet,” she adds.
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