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Gay Rights Activist Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil
September 11, 2018
by Sohrab Hura
(From March, 2018)

At age 26 Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, the heir to the throne of Rajpipla, was wed to a suitable princess. He had hoped that a “normal” marriage followed by the birth of children would bring peace to his mind, but he was more miserable than ever. The marriage had not been consummated and after just a year together, Gohil’s bride filed for divorce. Confused and frustrated with himself, he suffered a nervous breakdown in 2002 and his doctors informed his parents that he was gay. They demanded that this information be kept private but four years later, Gohil came out to a journalist and his coming out made headlines in Hindi and English newspapers. His effigy was burned in Raipipla and was accosted when he ventured into public. His family felt humiliated, accused Gohil of bringing dishonor to them and disowned him.

Same-sex relations are illegal in India and outside of some gay-friendly neighborhoods of Mumbai and Delhi, it’s extremely difficult for LGBT citizens to come out. With little exception, tradition dictates that everyone marries and raise children. Quite often, LGBT people are shunned from their families and must find a means of support on their own. With this tragic dynamic in mind, after coming out, Gohil founded the Lakshya Trust, a charitable organization intended to assist LGBT in his home state. In 2018 he announced that he’s now renovating, modernizing and expanding his palace, which will serve as a home and sanctuary to LGBT people who have been banished by their families.

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