New Delhi, January 10: Filmmaker Karan Johar, who finally opened up about his sexual orientation in his recent released biography 'An Unsuitable Boy', has disappointed some members of LGBT community for not explicitly coming out of the closet.
Johar wrote about his sexual orientation, losing his virginity, his relationship with Shah Rukh Khan and hinted that he is not coming out of the closet since it is considered illegal in India.
Now, the LGBTQ community has criticised him for unintentionally putting fear inside several such people, who will be now scared of a FIR and will not open about their sexual identity.
Activist Mayank Shekhar explained that section 377 only arrests those caught in homosexual intercourse and not the one who speaks about their sexual orientation.
"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," Shekhar commented.
Another noted activist Pallav Patankar was disappointed and said this will put negative pressure on LGBT community who are trying to reveal their identity.
“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 a FIR might be involved — but this is baseless. You won’t be arrested for coming out.”
The Humsafar Trust, the pillar of LGBTQ rights in India, was also disappointed in his way of revelation.
"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," it said.
However, a queer rights activist Romal Laishram stated that Karan should not be loaded with so much pressure.
“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.”
Harish Iyer, another activist stood by Karan and said he has indirectly said everything and he doesn't owe to explicitly come out of the closet.
"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."
Karan had, however, received a lot of appreciation for saying what he was being bullied for all these years.