India’s first openly gay prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is speaking out against conversion therapy and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
The 56-year-old prince came out in 2006 – when homosexuality in India was still illegal – and has opened up about his own subjection to electroshock treatments and other practices to find a “cure” for his sexuality.
In a recent interview with Insider, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil recalled how his parents – the Maharaja and Maharani of Rajpipla – reacted when they found out he was gay in 2002.
“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,” Gohil told the outlet.
He went on to reveal his family thought it was “impossible” that he could be gay because his cultural upbringing had been “so rich”.
“They had no idea that there’s no connection between someone’s sexuality and their upbringing,” he said.
Gohil also detailed what methods were used to “treat” him: “They approached doctors to operate on my brain to make me straight and subjected me to electroshock treatments.”
In addition to enduring years of conversion therapy, the prince was publicly disowned by his parents, who took out ads in newspapers announcing that he was cut off as heir due to his involvement in activities “unsuitable to society”.
The 39th direct descendant of India’s Gohil Rajput dynasty founded Lakshya Trust — a charitable organisation which aims to improve the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in Gujarat.