Gaydar Feature of the Month – Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil

“For our rights, the only way out is education, in creating awareness and sensitising people at all levels”

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Social Nation (June 2023)


In this Gaydar Feature of the Month, we’re featuring a royalty that fought for his rights despite being held up by tradition and expectations living in a majestic palace. He is Manvendra Singh Gohil, a 59 years old prince from the Rajpipla royal family in Gujarat, India. But here’s the twist, he was different. Prince Manvendra is considered to be the first openly gay prince in the world, and he is known for being one of India’s foremost LGBTQIA+ activists.

Coming Out Story

Coming out to one’s parents is hard enough at the best of times. For the prince who was born into one of India’s royal dynasties, coming out had devastating consequences.

In 1977 when prince Manvendra was 12, he told his parents that he had sensed that he might be gay. This set him on a path true to himself, but it was an arduous journey. His parents sent him to a series of doctors and spiritual guides for counselling, psychiatric tests, and conversion therapy. He even had to endure electroshock therapy. At one point, brain surgery was even considered by his parents.

While his parent’s attempt to make their son straight did not prevail, they kept their son’s homosexuality private as it was then illegal in India. But in 2006, the prince officially came out to a newspaper article and his honesty was not rewarded. As his story quickly gained global attention, he attended The Oprah Winfrey Show. However, back home in Rajpipla, locals reacted with anger, burning his effigy and issuing death threats.

His parents striped him off his inheritance, and his mother even took out an advert in a newspaper to announce that she was disowning the prince, threatening to sue anyone who dared to refer to him as her son. She wrote, “Nobody should refer to my name as Manvendra’s mother. If any individual or organisation does he will invite contempt proceedings”. We can only imagine the courage it took to endure all that, and Prince Manvendra endured.

Contributions in the LGBTQIA+ Community

Prince Manvendra didn’t sit high up in his ivory tower and do nothing. He rolled up his sleeves and got to work. In 2000, he founded the Lakshya Trust, an NGO to achieve sexual tolerance, gender equity, promote awareness for HIV/AIDS and empower the LGBTQIA+ individuals to be inclusive in the society. It was a place of hope, especially individuals from the rural corners in India where acceptance is scarce.

The prince was also at the forefront of a fight to ban conversion therapy by funding a Supreme Court case against it. In recent years, he spoke to leading human rights organisations, LGBTQIA+ advocates and queer people about the horrors of the procedure to bolster the argument.

In 2011, he appeared in the Oprah Show again to share about his country’s positive attitudes about homosexuality. India repealed its anti-gay laws, gay pride parades emerged nationwide, and Prince Manvendra was back on talking terms with his father. “The mainstreaming has started happening,” he told Oprah. “A lot of guys are actually coming out to their parents, and a few of them have even come out to the society.” Since then, the prince continued to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights.


Mavendra is a superhero, from royal tradition to LGBTQIA+ activism and standing up for the rights as a role model. Through his openness and the founding of the Lakshya Trust, he has inspired change in India and beyond, showing bravery and advocacy!

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