In order to inspire change, conventions have to be broken. Hurdles have to be consistently overcome to truly change our lives. LGBTQ+ activism is at the heart of breaking these conventions, first and foremost in countries where LGBTQ+ is not nearly as commonly accepted. India is one of these countries where the LGBTQ+ community struggles to gain a footing. It’s here where it’s especially important to break conventions, in this case by the only openly gay prince in the nation, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, which plans to rebuild his pink palace into a center for LGTBQ+ people in need of support.
The prospect of an openly gay prince has been a hot topic in India since the story broke back in 2006. Let’s be honest, an openly gay prince would’ve been a big story of controversial proportions anywhere, even in our western world that has been making slow progress in the matter of LGBTQ+ rights. Being a prince is a sacrosanct institution, especially in India.
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil: The Openly Gay Prince of India
While Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil arguably has had any privilege in the world, his story is decidedly human. He had a life full of regret, insecurity, and doubts like they are commonly found in anyone trying to figure out their sexuality in a world that’s painted in black and white, right or wrong. He had an arranged marriage that got divorced within a year (breaking another unspoken rule in his position) because of his sexual orientation, which he still managed to keep secret beyond that point. Prince Manvendra Singh isolated himself and struggled with the feeling of not knowing what to do, where to go, and the certainty that his family would never accept him the way he is. All of which culminated in a nervous breakdown and a coming out to his family, which rather tolerated than accepted his “condition” as they perceived it, keeping it secret and isolating Prince Manvendra Singh even more as a result.
When Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil finally came out to a reporter in 2006, it removed those shackles from him, while alienating his family, which became the subject of ridicule in a country that doesn’t seem to be capable yet to accept the LGBTQ+ community, especially not in a family of royal descent. In a way, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil overstepped a moral boundary and thus gave hope to many fellow sufferers, subsequently starting to become even more active in LGBTQ+ Activism.
LGBTQ+ Activism in the Pink Palace
Which leads us to today. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil has decided to open his pink palace to LGBTQ+ people in need. He described his intentions to The Independent as follows:
“Parents blackmail their children and force them to get married to the opposite sex. People in the community tell me their mothers have threatened to kill themselves if they are gay. They do not want their mother to jump into a well so they are pressured to get married.”
He also added:
“People in India are so attached to their parents they are not able to live without them. When they try and come out parents do not understand and disown their children and throw them out of the home. The children don’t know where to go and are homeless.”
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil already runs a community-based organization, called The Lakshya Trust, providing support and education to combat the spread of HIV/Aids. This organization will also run the center in his pink palace.
We gave Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil the spotlight in this article today because it highlights what LGBTQ+ activism is all about. It highlights what all activism should be about. To challenge the norm, to challenge the values our society runs on every day to inspire change in everyone and to show that LGBTQ+, sexuality and sexual identity are part of us as humans and they aren’t influenced by social degrees, rules or values. They simply are a part of us we have to accept and cater to. This is why LGBTQ+ activism is important anywhere in the world.
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