Have you ever heard of Manvendra Singh Gohil? You have probably caught him on Oprah – he is the only openly gay prince in India! A part of Gohil royal family of Rajpipla, Gujarat, Manvendra came out in 2006 and he is now ambassador to nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
“Had I lived as a heterosexual, I would have led an unhappy double life. It came as a very big shock. Especially to the 500 odd (royal) families, their allies, friends, associates that are here in India. After all, [homosexuality] was existing in the society but hypocrisy wasn’t allowing them to talk about it.”
“Whenever I talk about coming out, I always say there are two types. One is you coming out to your near and dear ones, and [the other is] your near and dear ones coming out to the society, The second aspect is much tougher than the first. Even though your parents might accept you, the society doesn’t. Especially when one comes from a family of reputation, culture, heritage… It became very difficult for my family to make the society understand that they knew I was gay.”
“Gradually, my interviews in the media came out positive. Star News did my breaking story and that was extremely positive. And then the news spread to foreign countries, [resulting in] Oprah inviting me. That was the game changer.<p>Now my cousins are feeling proud. ‘Oh we have a relative who has reached Oprah!”