Disney Channel star shares touching moment he came out as bisexual to co-stars
Disney Channel star Karan Brar has publicly come out as bisexual and opened up about the emotional moment he first came out to his co-stars in 2019.
The actor, who played Ravi in Disney Channel’s Jessie and its spin-off series Bunk’d and Chirag Gupta in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid films opened up about the difficulty he endured trying to bridge his public persona and his true self in a new essay for Teen Vogue.
Karan, who is just one of many former Disney stars to come out publicly as LGBTQ+ over the years, writes candidly about the first time he moved out of his parents’ house and moved in with his fellow Disney stars Cameron Boyce (Jessie) and Sophie Reynolds (Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything) just after he turned 20.
The actor explains that, before moving in with his friends, he had been compartmentalising “public Karan and private Karan” until “cracks started to form.”
Karan recalled how it all “came to a head” after a night of drinking with his friends “while [he] was drunkenly hunched over a toilet bowl,” and he decided to come out as bisexual for the first time to his Disney Channel co-stars.
“The moment the words left my mouth, I regretted it. I could barely see straight, but I ended up trying to do some damage control anyway,” he says.
Immediately, Karan says he began offering to move out but didn’t get far before his two best friends hugged him from behind.
“Again, I told them I should move out. They told me I was being stupid. I told them I’d cover for them if people asked why we didn’t live together anymore. They said to shut the f**k up.”
Ultimately, Boyce and Reynolds managed to get through to Karan that his bisexuality “changed nothing for them.”
The Disney Channel alum recalls how “shocked” his friends were – not that he was bisexual, but that he assumed that they would want “nothing to do with [him]” once he came out.
“Today I can understand how absurd that was – Soph and Cam had been my best friends for years and loved me every step of the way. Why in the world would they stop then? I think I just convinced myself that this part of me would feel less like an invitation to know me better and more like a burden they had to endure,” he wrote.
The following morning, in a sober state, Karan tried once more to “give them one more opportunity to accept [his] offer to move out”, believing he had just “ruined” their collective childhood dream to one day move in together.
“To no one’s surprise, Cameron interrupted me once again, while Sophie tried to hide her frustrations because I refused to listen to what they had to say,” the now-24-year-old says.
“I finally gave up and accepted that they loved me as I am, as I’ve been, and as I’m going to be.
“This was a crisp picture of what unconditional love looked like: my two best friends sitting across from me on a discount couch, waiting to hear me describe my type so they could take on their new roles as matchmakers. They weren’t going anywhere.”
Sadly, later that year, Boyce died due to complications with epilepsy, which Karan says threw his “already-fragile sense of self into a tailspin.”
Dealing with internalised homophobia, suicidal ideation, depression, grief, and anxiety, Karan admitted himself to an inpatient treatment centre in 2020.
Today, the actor insists he is “doing much better”, after being officially diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder.
“I’m no longer drowning in the grief of losing Cameron. Rather, I’m in acceptance of grief being an ever-changing experience I just have to see through,” he says.
“Everyone around me can also see these changes, and I can feel their shoulders dropping in relief as we go further into our twenties.”
Suicide is preventable. Readers in the UK who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
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