Karan Johar hasn’t come out. He hasn’t ever publically identified as a gay man. He hasn’t discussed his sexuality or defended it in public. He hasn’t denied the rumours, either. He has accepted innuendoes made by guests on Koffee with Karan, subjected himself to gay jokes at the AIB Roast and made a short film for Bombay Talkies exploring a relationship between two men. His acting debut in Bombay Velvet was a character who, it was suggested, had a crush on the leading man. And in a recent magazine interview, he said about Kareena Kapoor: “If I was interested in dating women, she would probably be the woman I would want to date. Of course, she has her limitations and so do I.”
This is a pretty good clue. But until he decides to say more on the subject or actually outs himself, we would do well to take follow Johar’s lead on how he wants to play this. Like this person on Twitter should’ve done. After news broke of the American Supreme Court verdict legalising gay marriage, this tweet went up:
— Pratik Malhotra (@PratiikMalhotra) June 27, 2015
It’s not particularly funny and it’s a sniggering, mean-spirited sort of comment to make at a time when the public sentiment was one of hope and optimism. Johar said so:
https://t.co/5We8Ko4Sbg it’s so sad and disgusting when a major breakthrough movement is made into a mockery by some on Twitter!! Shame!!!
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) June 27, 2015
There are consequences to coming out as gay anywhere in the world and particularly in India. Even in educated, privileged circles. The former BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s son has long accused the father of trying to coerce and threaten him into breaking up with his boyfriend and giving up this “lifestyle”. More recently, the Indian entrant to Mr Gay World 2015, Thahir Mohammed Sayyed, and his family suddenly disappeared off the radar. Their home in Kerala is locked and his FB page scrubbed of all mentions of the pageant. There were reports that since news of his participation got out, his family was ostracized and prevented from praying at the local mosque.
The choice to come out as gay is a personal one because it is a hard decision to make in a hostile country and culture. The admission could affect the person and their loved ones. No amount of support from your circle or personal influence and wealth can shield you from the discrimination that is embedded in the law of the land.
So till a person is ready—and they may never be—the decent thing to do is to not allude to their sexuality publically. Besides everything else, it’s really none of your business.