Kumar: Yes, I am gay

When you're a cross-dressing celebrity, people will wonder and whisper about your sexuality.

So it was with comedian Kumar, who not only had to contend with whispers, but also with people who openly asked him: "Are you gay?"

Each time, his answer was a straight "NO!"

In 1993, The New Paper ran a front page (above) with the headline "Who says I'm gay?" after Kumar told reporter Brian Miller: "I'm not a homo. I'm not gay."

In 2005, he again denied being a homosexual in another TNP article.

The closest he came to admitting it was in 2009 when he was again asked the question in an interview with gay website fridae.asia.

"I think everybody else is afraid to say it. But why state the obvious?" he replied then.

But now, Kumar has left no doubt about his sexual leanings, saying with confidence, "Yes, I'm gay" in his coffee-table book, Kumar: From Rags To Drags.

The book, written by Ivan Lim, a former TNP journalist and columnist, was launched yesterday.

Among the guests at the launch was Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

So, why did Kumar have to lie about it all those years only to come out of the closet now?

When TNP posed him this question during the launch, the 43-year-old comic veteran said: "When you're 40-something, people take you seriously.

"And when you tell people you're 40, anything you say, they will believe."

Just deny

He also said that he would just deny that he was gay during his early days in the industry because he didn't know how to tackle questions from journalists about his sexual orientation.

The book promises to reveal a side of Kumar that people have never seen.

The chapter "Fairy Queen" is the most revealing.

Kumar said it wasn't easy to come out of the closet despite his homosexuality being "plain as day" to many people.

"If I want people to understand me, I think I have to be able to open myself. How to help people when I myself am in denial?" he said in the interview.

In the book, he also recalled his difficult childhood. He said he came from a broken family and was often made fun of.

People called him names like Ah Kua (Hokkien slang for an effeminate person) all the way from primary school to national service.

"I was so stressed. I was always wondering why I was different from everyone. There was nobody like me."

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