Saturday, September 23, 2017
Born Today: Indian Prince Manvedra Singh Gohil, 1st Openly Gay Prince
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil was born today, September 23, in 1965. He is an Indian prince who is the son and probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat. He is the first openly gay prince in the world. He runs a charity, The Lakshya Trust, which works with the LGBT community.
As the only son of the Maharaja of Rajpipla, Manvendra was raised with a sense of history and family dignity. As per Indian custom, his parents arranged a suitable match for him, and in January 1991, Manvendra married Chandrika Kumari, a princess of Jhabua state in Madhya Pradesh.
The marriage remained unconsummated. Worried about this, his wife made several attempts to attract his sexual interest, but he only felt repelled by her lewd behaviour. He knew that he was at fault and not she, but he was unable to remedy the situation.
After his divorce in 1992, Manvendra kept his sexuality repressed, as before, and hid the matter from his family and everyone else. He told his family that he would never marry again.
In 2006, the journalist Chirantana Bhatt came to know that the crown prince of Rajpipla was a closeted gay man. Bhatt approached Manvendra and convinced him that it was in the public interest to come out and tell his story to the world. She told him that this would be helpful for other young men who were struggling with their sexuality just like Manvendra had been.
On March 14, 2006, the story of Manvendra's coming out made headlines in India and around the world.
The excessive publicity and public humiliation caused immense pain to his parents and sister. When he said that he was doing this for the sake of other gay men, they asked him why he cared more about the comfort of those people and less about his own parents. Finally, after a lot of bitterness, Manavendra's family disowned him.
Manvendra appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show on October 24, 2007. He was one of three persons featured in the show entitled 'Gay Around the World'. He expressed that he has no regrets about coming out, and that he believes the people of his state respect him for his leadership in preventing and educating on HIV/AIDS.