Kal Penn Comes Out and Announces his Engagement
Indian-American Hollywood actor, Kal Penn came out to the world on Monday, November 1st, revealing his 11-year relationship with his partner and fiance, Josh. Born Kalpesh Suresh Modi, Penn is arguably best known for his role as Kumar in the film series “Harold & Kumar.” His other credits include popular TV Shows “House” and “How I Met Your Mother”. Furthermore, he worked for the White House for two years during the Obama administration.
In an interview that is a prelude to his upcoming memoir, “You Can’t Be Serious“, Kal Penn states:
“I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people,” Penn later told told People magazine. “There’s no timeline on this stuff. People figure their s— out at different times in their lives, so I’m glad I did when I did.”
When Kal Met Josh
Additionally, Kal Penn remarks he met Josh during his two-year stint working in the White House as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement during the Obama administration, a job he began in 2009.
When asked more about his relationship with Josh, Kal Penn reveals:
“I thought, if we’re supposed to feel like we’re having a beer together, then I want to take you into my stories and I want you to experience them with the same joy that I’ve experienced them,” Penn said. “That was the way that my friends have met my parents and Josh, as they’ve gotten to know them over the last 10 years.”
As homosexuality is still a very taboo topic in many South Asian communities, Penn jokes that after telling his parents he wanted to be an actor, any subsequent conversation became much easier.
“They’re just like, ‘Yeah, okay.’ I felt very supported by everyone. That’s a wonderful thing. I know everybody has different experiences with that and so I definitely feel very fortunate,” Penn told People.
Impact on South Asian Queer Community
So what does this mean for Indian-Americans? It means representation. Penn is a mainstream Indian American Hollywood actor that many 1st and 2nd generation South Asians and Indian-Americans have grown up watching. There is a huge factor of relatability and his personality has resonated with so many Millenials. Moreover, it builds more queer acceptance. Especially, in a community that has repeatedly shown a lot of prejudices and biases towards the LGBTQIA community. Being an openly South Asian homosexual man allows the building of tolerance.
Mumbai-based director and LGBTQ activist Onir puts it perfectly to vice.com:
“It not only encourages people who are struggling to come to terms with their own identity, but it also helps families when they see that this person is open, is doing well for himself, is respectable and loved. They also realize that they can respect their own son or daughter or transgender child.”
Kal Penn coming out and being so open with his sexuality makes him a South Asian and Indian American youth and gay icon.
Cardi B to Officiate the Wedding?
Finally, in other news, Kal Penn tweets that in a dream he had, Cardi B officiated his wedding. While Cardi B tweeted back saying she was qualified to in this fun exchange: