+
upworthy
Culture

Kal Penn finally came out, sharing how he and his partner fell in love in his new book

Kal Penn fiance, Kal Penn book

Kal Penn on Instagram

When people picture Kal Penn, they most likely think of a certain stoner with a munchie-induced craving for hamburgers. Others might remember Penn's two-year stint as an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement during the Obama presidency. But whether you associate him with White Castle or the White House, Penn recently revealed what most of the world did not know about him: that he is also the loving fiancé to his partner, Josh, of 11 years. His first public coming out came alongside the promotion for Penn's new memoir, "You Can't Be Serious."


The actor known for his roles in the "Harold and Kumar" movie series tweeted that the book delves into his story of growing up as the son of immigrants, moving out to Hollywood to pursue a dream of "making people laugh" (which apparently involved some racist auditions for shows like "Sabrina The Teenage Witch") and taking a break from acting to work at the White House. The book also covers Penn's relationship with his partner Josh, including their first date watching NASCAR.

According to People, "You Can't Be Serious" details their meet-cute, with Josh arriving at Penn's apartment with an 18 pack of Coors Light, ready to watch a car race. Penn wasn't quite ready to think of this date as romantic. But don't worry, this love story has a happy ending.

"I thought, 'This obviously is not going to work out,'" Penn told People. "I have one day off from The White House and this dude is unironically watching cars go around and making left turns? Next thing you know, it's been a couple months and we're watching NASCAR every Sunday. I'm like, 'What is happening?'"

I mean … if that's not love, I don't know what is.

For Penn, this aspect of his identity came later in life. He shared with People that "I discovered my own sexuality relatively late in life compared to many other people. 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."

Penn also shared that coming out to his parents was relatively easy, telling People that "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. They're just like, 'Yeah, okay.'" He noted that everyone has different coming out experiences and that he was "very fortunate" to receive his family's support.

Though Penn has been very eager to share his relationship, he had the challenge of respecting Josh and his family, who "don't love attention and shy away from the limelight." This includes a "big disagreement" on whether or not to do a huge wedding or a tiny wedding. Penn told People, "I want the big ass Indian wedding. Josh, hates attention, [has said], 'Or we could just do quick 20-minute thing with our families and that's it.' So we have to meet halfway in the middle." I think all couples are really just different versions of tiny wedding Josh's and big ass wedding Kal's.

Of course, we're striving to create a world where instead of headlines reading "Kal Penn Comes Out and Is Engaged," we can see something as simple as "Kal Penn Is Engaged" without needing a public announcement of sexual orientation. But the truth is that for many cultures this subject is still under a challenging stigma. And for someone like Penn to normalize it helps others like him make it normal too.

Take a look at some of the responses he's received online.


One person wrote: "this was originally gonna be a generic Halloween tweet about a costume but given that he came out today & announced he is engaged to his boyfriend of 10 years I just wanna say thank you @kalpenn for inspiring a whole generation of Indian kids to break stereotypes. I owe u so much"

This comment pretty much sums it up: "because of you I felt safe pursuing entertainment, and now thanks to you millions of LGBTQ+ indian people will get to see themselves represented in the mainstream media."

Sometimes these seemingly small moments of expressing individual truth helps others live their lives in a more authentic way.

Others responded that they were disappointed in Penn's announcement, including journalist Louis Peitzman, who wrote "Kal Penn coming out by announcing he's marrying someone who isn't me … that's a choice."

Considering that Penn has been listed as "Most Eligible Bachelor" by People magazine, I'd say he's probably left many feeling unrequited love. It's well worth the broken hearts, Kal! Congrats to you and Josh.

Penn told People that he wanted his book to feel like "sharing a beer" together while he brought people into his stories. You'll be able to check out those stories for yourself on Nov 2.

Florida teacher Yolanda Turner engaged 8th grade students in a dance-off.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Teachers deserve all the kudos, high fives, raises, accolades, prizes and thanks for everything they do. Even if they just stuck to academics alone, they'd be worth far more than they get, but so many teachers go above and beyond to teach the whole child, from balancing equations to building character qualities.

One way dedicated educators do that is by developing relationships and building rapport with their students. And one surefire way to build rapport is to dance with them.

A viral video shared by an assistant principal at Sumner High School & Academy in Riverview, Florida shows a group of students gathered around one student as he challenges a teacher to a dance-off.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Popular philosopher shares the one way to know someone is a true genius

They have a skill that separates them from the merely talented.

Albert Einstein and William Shakespeare.

What separates people who are geniuses from those who are merely talented? German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860) explained the difference: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see."

Popular TikTok philosopher Juan de Medeiros further explained Schopenhauer’s views on genius in a video that has been seen over 200,000 times.

"Essentially, what he meant is that true genius is when you can do or see things that other people can't even conceive of,” de Medeiros explained. “It's like a genius is often doing something before his time has come; will often only be recognized after his death. Someone who is talented is very good at doing something that other people recognize as being important. Whereas a genius is someone who has the vision to foresee that which will become important in the future."

Keep ReadingShow less

The gaze of the approving Boomer.

Over the past few years, Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) have been getting a lot of grief from the generations that came after them, Gen X (1965 to 1980), Millenials (1981 to 1996), and now, Gen Z (1997 to 2012). Their grievances include environmental destruction, wealth hoarding, political polarization, and being judgemental when they don’t understand how hard it is for younger people to make it in America these days.

Every Baby Boomer is different, so it's wrong to paint them all with a broad brush. But it’s undeniable that each generation shares common values, and some are bound to come into conflict.

However, life in 2023 isn’t without its annoyances. Many that came about after the technological revolution put a phone in everyone’s hands and brought a whole new host of problems. Add the younger generations' hands-on approach to child rearing and penchant for outrage, and a lot of moden life has become insufferanble.

Keep ReadingShow less
Representative Image from Canva

Some troublemaker named Conor got a little tough love this year for Valentine's Day.

It’s Valentine’s Day, and that means parents will be sifting and sorting through piles of cutesy cards. Most will probably contain the standard fare—a sweet cartoon character, some candy, a nice message.

But then again, kids do say the darndest things, and you never know when that candidness will pop up to deliver some grade-A comedy.

For a woman named Nisarah, it happened when her daughter decided to create handmade cards for her classmates. Let’s just say…one stood out among the rest.
Keep ReadingShow less

A wise woman shares her thoughts on "perfection."

As the ancient proverb says, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” but communicating big, essential ideas clearly and concisely is also a great indicator of wisdom. In a world awash with information, the ability to take a complex idea and turn it into simple, understandable statements is a true gift.

Succinct, bite-size pieces of wisdom are also a way to help people remember what’s truly important. As theologian François Fénelon once said, “The more you say, the less people remember."

The ability to communicate big ideas simply, reveals the level of understanding one has on a subject. Albert Einstein once said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

In an attempt to collect some of the pithiest bits of wisdom known to humankind, a Reddit user named Upset-Document-8399 posed a big question to the AskReddit forum: “Wise people of Reddit, what's a one-liner pearl of wisdom you know?”

Keep ReadingShow less
Representative image from Canva

A birth clinic with facials? Now that's luxury.

When I say “picture a birthing clinic,” you’re likely to imagine all white rooms and hospital beds…not luxury suites and spa vibes.

But the latter was what Nicole Patrice, who had moved to Japan from Kentucky and underwent a c-section at the Nagoya Birth Clinic, where her husband purchased a 5-day stay in the “precious suite” as a Christmas gift.

Her tour of the facility and all its next level amenities—not to mention its price—left viewers in shock.

Keep ReadingShow less