Waving rainbow flag he appeared thrice in The Oprah Winfrey Show, first in the series of Gay Men around the World in 2011. Then appeared in an episode of Keeping Up with Kardashians as not just India’s but the world’s open Gay Prince. Who is this royalty, charming the world with his activism for gay men in India?
Born on 23rd September 1965
Born on 23rd September to Maharana Shree Raghubir Singhji and Maharani Rukmini Devi of the princely state of Rajpipla, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil became an icon of Indian Princely charm in the LGBTQ Community when he opened up as a gay. But the journey wasn’t as easy as it seems.
When Prince Manvendra opened up about his sexuality to his parents after a nervous breakdown, his parents suggested he should keep it to himself as it was considered a news of shame. When he publicly came out as Gay, he was disowned by his family. Often in his public appearances he was heckled by the people of Rajpipla for bringing shame to their state and royalty. Not a single soul not even his mother came in support of the honesty of the prince. Maharani Rukmini Devi published a poster across local dailies stating she is disowning the prince and shall punish those who link her with the prince in future.
But this was just the beginning, effigies of his name were burnt in his native place. Several death threats and abusive slurs were used to call him. He recalled in an interview how everyone was ashamed of him but then a ray of light beamed across the dark canvas when a Senior Citizen’s Association sent him a letter congratulating him for standing by the truth and his courage.
Determined and Un-deterred with his activism for the Gay men in India and appearances in many awareness campaigns he shot up to fame and acclaim as World’s first Openly Gay Prince. In the year 2000, he started Lakshya Trust, a registered public charitable community which campaigns, educates and gives a helping hand to men in distress for their homosexuality. The trust gained fame with their HIV/AIDS Prevention Campaigns and won accolades on national front.
He became the Representative of Indian Community of Gay Men and HIV Network Internationally. In the year 2008, he was inaugurated the Euro Pride Gay Fest in Stockholm, Sweden.
Not everyone protested the prince’s orientation in the royalty. His grandmother, his teacher and secretary supported his decision and were happy to see him stand for a cause and just for himself. Being an editor of Fun, a magazine dedicated to gay men, printed in Rajpipla he garnered support from the men and women of the place which once abhorred his existence.
Love was waiting for him in another hemisphere of the world, he realized when he met De Andre Richardson of Washington from United States of America whom he married later. Prince Manvendra says, that he plans to open a home for old aged gay men who have no other place to go and have been disowned. Optimistic of a positive turn taking over he looks forward to strengthen the awareness he began after coming out in India.
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