First openly gay Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil shares his mission to end conversion therapy

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India.
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India.
(Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images
  • Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India is at the forefront of the demand for a ban on conversion therapy.
  • The prince came out in 2006 when homosexuality in India was still illegal and has advocated for the LQBTQ+ community for years.
  • "It's a never-ending cycle. I have to keep fighting," he said in a recent interview.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India, who is believed to be the world's first openly gay royal, is speaking out against conversion therapy. 

The 56-year-old prince came out in 2006 when homosexuality in India was still illegal and 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.

"They thought it was impossible that I could be gay because my cultural upbringing had been so rich. They had no idea that there's no connection between someone's sexuality and their upbringing," he recalled. 

"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 advertisements 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, in 2000.

Over the two decades that it has been running, the prince has been advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in every way he can.

Per the BBC, Prince Manvendra transformed his ancestral home into a support hub to empower the community financially and socially in 2018 when homosexuality was decriminalised by the Supreme Court.

However, conversion therapy is still legal in the country four years later, which is why Prince Manvendra is at the forefront of the demand for a ban on the unethical practice.

The royal told Insider, it's "important" for people like him with a platform to speak out against the practice of conversion therapy and continue to campaign for its end.

"Now we have to fight for issues like same-sex marriage, right to inheritance, right to adoption. It's a never-ending cycle," he said. "I have to keep fighting."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.