'My aim is to educate literates'
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'My aim is to educate literates'

55-year-old Prince of Rajpipla broke the societal barriers and came out openly as a gay

'My aim is to educate literates'

New Delhi: On Thursday, CitySpidey conducted a LIVE session with a 55-year-old human rights activist Manvendra Singh Gohil, Prince of Rajpipla, Gujarat, who broke the societal barriers and came out openly as a gay in 2006. Hear the prince share his 'royal coming out' story on our Instagram page.

The LIVE session was moderated by Ketan Vaidya, he started the session by welcoming the Prince of Rajpipla. Vaidya asked, “Whether the spirit of the community year after year after the Supreme Court scrapped the criminalisaton of consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex, were uplifted or not and with the passing years, does the pride month see more energy and gusto in taking up the causes?”

To this, Gohil replied, “I am seeing a lot of improvement after the Supreme Court scrapped the criminalisaton of consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex. Especially this year, I have observed the involvement of not only the rainbow community but also the non community whom we call allies, including students, educational institutes, corporates, rotary clubs, associations and several other organisations who came forward with enthusiasm.”

Prince Gohil said that Covid made people meet not physically but virtually. He said that the rise in virtual media platforms made the queer community more visible to the world, he expressed that with virtual presence, they can reach out to more people as compared to physical presence.

“The pride month will definitely benefit the community in terms of better acceptance and improved understanding of the issues of our community,” he added.

Manvendra Singh Gohil has been associated with social work, he runs Lakshya Trust and has a vast social outreach. Taking the session further Vaidya asked the prince about how he addressed the intersectionalities of the traditional society and the feudal society.

Gohil answered this while adding an uncommon term “homo social behaviour.” He said that although Indians are known to be homophobic and transphobic and hypocritical, we need to understand that India is a country where they accept homo social behaviour.

Explaining the term homo social behaviour, he referred to instances where the people don't comment or judge when two person of same sex hold their hands or hug each other in public but the same people start reacting when two person of opposite sex do something of that sort.

Talking about intersectionality and educating people to make them understand about different sections of the society, he shared a word “educated illiterates,” he borrowed the word from a friend. Gohil said that one might be doubly graduate or post graduate but doesn't understand or acknowledge the issues of the LGBTQAI+ community. He said that his job as an activist is to convert the educated illiterates into educated literates. He said it doesn't matter to him whether a person belongs to traditional society or feudal society.

Prince Gohil highlighted the lack of sex education in schools, he said it's unfortunate that even after we coming from the land of Kama Sutra, the students aren't equipped with sex education. He said that he doesn't blame the people who are homophobic towards the community as they are educated illiterate.

Vaidya continued the session with the question, “Who is an ally and how can one become an ally?”

Gohil expressed that allies hold a special place in his heart, they are VIPs to him. With this, he highlighted the role and significance of an ally. He said anyone who accepts, understands the queer community and educates people about their existence and normalises it by changing mindsets is an ally. Gohil said that anyone can be an ally, a friend, a doctor, a lawyer or a religious leader.

Gohil came out in 2006 in an interview with Divya Bhaskar when he was forty one years old. Sharing his own story, he said that he realised that he is a gay at the age of thirty. Gohil expressed how challenging it was to be born as a gay and to be born in a royal family where there was very little scope of communication.

Talking about his growing years, Gohil said he was always a loner. His teachers addressed him to be shy, introvert and a passive student. Gohil said that his best friends were animals and birds. He also said that he had adopted many animals till now and loves to spend time with them.

Prince Gohil shared his parent's ignorance and insensitivity about the issues and talked about how Bollywood and the media play a vital role in changing mindsets.

They talked about a time when Oprah Winfrey called the prince to Chicago after which Gohil felt more accepted. It's saddening that Indians needed a western validation to accept him as India has numerous examples in history and ancient temples that talks about the existence of homosexuals. Gohil said that it's alarming how we are ashamed of our own culture.

During the LIVE session, Gohil expressed how the foreigners accepted and embraced him. He said that he was a mould breaker, a prince who came out with pride and an unique example that a royal can be a gay. He said that he was even invited to various pride events.

Many viewers joined, and made the session interactive. Gohil shared the relation of the people of Rajpipla with him, he interestingly said that most of the people trust his work and say his sexuality is his choice that doesn't mean he isn't the prince of Rajpipla.

The prince said he doesn't want to go into politics but he has allies in every party who can become the voice of the community. He said that he is deeply inspired by Mahatma Gandhi who gave freedom to our country with non-violence and truthfulness. Gohil said his aim is to bring freedom to the people of his community with Gandhiji's values and morals.

To know more about the prince, watch the full video. Click on the link below and share your insights.


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