Kal Penn Coming Out Of The Kal-loset
Cue the shehnaiyaan because a big Indian wedding is on its way, with Kal Penn as one of the grooms shrouded in rainbows. You heard it, that’s right. And we couldn’t be gayer, pun intended.
Wait, you don’t know what I’m talking about? OMG, keep up! American-Indian actor Kal Penn has come out of the closet and is now preparing for his wedding with fiancée Josh! I hope there’s paneer.
Wait, wait. What? Tell me slowly!
Kal Penn, or Kalpesh Suresh Modi, is an American actor born to Indian immigrant parents. Kal is most popularly known for his hit movie franchise called ‘Harold & Kumar’ and the political thriller ‘Designated Survivor’. Penn has also acted as a member of the White House staff during Barack Obama’s tenure.
Wow, cool. So, he came out?
Yes! Penn revealed to People Magazine that he is engaged to Josh, his partner of 11 years. Moreover, he revealed to the publication that he felt “very supported” when he revealed his sexuality to family and friends.
Penn said: “I shared things with my parents and close friends first. I know this sounds jokey, but it’s true: When you’ve already told your Indian parents and the South Asian community that you intend to be an actor for a living, really any conversations that come after that are super easy.”
He continued: “They’re just like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ … That’s a wonderful thing. I know everybody has different experiences with that and so I definitely feel very fortunate.”
Penn shared that he figured out his sexuality quite later in life, and that he would like to have an all-out, opulent Indian wedding but his partner wants a more intimate affair that is short and with only their families. Penn said that they’ll have to meet somewhere in the middle regarding this decision.
That’s so cool! Congratulations, Kal!
Yes, this is a very happy occasion. And it’s not just for Kal and Josh.
With Kal coming out as openly gay, this has brought important representation in the mainstream culture. For Indians, and South Asians in general, this is a crucial moment because they can now look at their screen and see someone like them be openly gay.
“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.”
The wedding is set to take place in the coming year, and we can’t wait to set aside a date in our calendars. Also, I really hope there is paneer.
Cover Illustration: Abhilasha Muttoo