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Meet India’s First Openly Gay Prince Who Is Fighting to Ban Conversion Therapy

Manvendra Singh Gohil, 55, became India's first openly gay royal in 2006.

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(Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of homophobia and conversion therapy).

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is India's first openly gay royal. Having come out in an interview to a local newspaper in 2006, Gohil ended up facing a lot of backlash from the people of Rajpipla, Gujarat.

The 39th descendant of the Gohil Rajput dynasty, Manvendra Singh was even shunned by his own parents when he came out to them in 2002, four years before his newspaper interview. He was even briefly married to a woman against his wish. According to Insider, he eventually married his husband in 2013.

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Gohil realized he was gay at the age of 12, but had to stay in the closet for decades before he came out to his parents in his late 30s. "The day I came out, my effigies were burnt. There were a lot of protests, people took to the streets and shouted slogans saying that I brought shame and humiliation to the royal family and to the culture of India. There were death threats and demands that I be stripped off of my title," he recounted in an interview with Insider.

His parents even places ads in newspapers and officially denounced him as the heir because of his involvement in activities "unsuitable to society".

He even recollects being subjected to electroshock treatments, visits to doctors, spiritual guides, and other draconian conversion therapies in order to rid him of his "disease".

Today, Gohil is 55 and has made his life's purpose to work against conversion therapy. He strives to ban the practice in the country (currently only the state of Tamil Nadu has a law in place).

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"It's important for people like me who have a certain reputation in society to continue the advocacy. We can't just stop because the country repealed Section 377," he added.

Gohil opened his 15-acre palace grounds to members of the LGBTQIA+ community after the Supreme Court decriminalized Section 377 in a landmark judgement in 2018.

He uses this premises now to rehabilitate and provide treatment to queer folk who have been subjected to harassment. Ironically, this is the same place from where he was shunned publicly years ago by his family.

(With inputs from Insider).

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Topics:  Gay rights   Gujarat   Conversion Therapy 

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