In a brave and poignant revelation, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay prince and heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat, has shared the distressing journey of coming to terms with his sexual orientation. In an act of unwavering courage, he recounted how his parents sought to change his sexuality through extreme medical interventions, a deeply humiliating and traumatic experience for the prince.
Prince Gohil’s journey is a reflection of the challenges faced by many in India’s LGBTQ+ community, where societal stigma and lack of understanding can lead to harmful practices such as gay conversion therapy. Despite being widely discredited as “medical misconduct” by the nation’s regulators, some doctors in India continue to practice this harmful therapy.
The prince’s parents struggled to accept his sexual orientation and sought medical intervention to “convert” him to heterosexuality. They went to the extent of seeking doctors in the United States to perform brain surgery and electroshock therapy, hoping it would change his sexual orientation. However, their efforts failed when American doctors refused to perform such procedures, asserting that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.
Reflecting on his harrowing experience, the prince stressed that it was a clear case of discrimination and a violation of human rights. He firmly believes that parents have no right to subject their children to such torture and suffering in the name of “conversion therapy.” Prince Gohil candidly stated that many individuals in India endure similar pain and humiliation due to their parents’ ignorance and societal pressure.
Back in 2006, when he publicly announced his sexual orientation, the prince faced severe backlash, including protests and effigies being burnt in his home state. However, over time, Prince Gohil’s parents have come to accept him for who he is, marking a positive change in their relationship. He attributes this transformation to education and awareness, emphasizing that homophobia arises from a lack of understanding and knowledge.
Despite the personal challenges he has faced, the prince has launched a legal battle at India’s Supreme Court to ban conversion therapy outright. He is also actively advocating for the legalization of gay marriage in the country. Despite the obstacles, Prince Gohil remains optimistic about the outcome of his legal efforts, asserting that the Indian judicial system is increasingly open-minded and progressive.
His fight is not only for himself but for the countless individuals across the country who continue to suffer due to societal prejudices. Prince Gohil’s courage and determination serve as a powerful inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, as they strive for equality, acceptance, and the recognition of their fundamental rights.
In the face of adversity, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil stands tall, ready to challenge the status quo and usher in a new era of acceptance and understanding for India’s LGBTQ+ community. As the nation’s collective consciousness evolves, the hope is that love will conquer hate, and respect will triumph over discrimination, allowing every individual to embrace their identity without fear of prejudice or persecution.