Fighting for our basic human rights has always been a huge conflict not in just our country but the whole world. However, people of the LGBTQ+ community know the fight in its truest form.
Manvendra Singh Gohil, the crown prince of Rajpipla has an inspiring story that will make you realise that staying true to your own self is the only thing that matters.
From being disinherited by his family to being completely exiled by the people of his village, it was Manvendra’s faith in himself that kept him going. Today, he is the first openly gay prince in the world and runs the first government-funded organisation for the LGBTQ+ community named ‘Lakshya Trust‘.
He told Humans of Bombay,
My parents disowned & disinherited me. The people of Rajpipla said I should be exiled & excommunicated–they even burnt my effigies. But I kept calm because I was fighting for a just cause.
His life turned around when Oprah invited him to her show and made him the third Indian at the time to ever be invited. After that, his life only saw progress from global leaders inviting him to his family finally coming to terms with his sexuality and accepting him for who he is.
Now, he runs his organisation from his 15-acre land which he turned into a community center for the LGBTQ community but he doesn’t see it as a privilege. He sees it as a means “to be heard, seen and accepted, unconditionally”.
You can read his Humans of Bombay post here.
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“I was born as the crown prince of Rajpipla. I had all the comforts you can think of, but it came at the cost of having no friends. So when I realised that I liked boys, I didn’t have anyone to share it with & thought it was a mental disorder or a ‘phase’. When my parents asked me to get married at 25, I did. But we got divorced soon–I felt guilty for ruining my ex wife’s life. So when I was asked to re-marry, I refused–I needed to understand myself first. At that time, I met Ashok Rao Kavi, a leading gay activist. He helped me accept my homosexuality & motivated me to start Lakshya, the first government funded organization in Gujarat to help the LGBTQ+ community. My parents were still unaware of my sexuality. The pressure of my double life led to a nervous breakdown & the truth came out. At first, they were in denial. My mom asked doctors to cure me with shock treatment & even spoke to gurus. When nothing worked, she threatened to isolate me from everyone & tried to get the government to stop funding my trust. I was frustrated, so when a journalist asked me to talk about my story, I readily said yes. Soon after, my parents disowned & disinherited me. The people of Rajpipla said I should be exiled & excommunicated–they even burnt my effigies. But I kept calm because I was fighting for a just cause. The tables turned when Oprah invited me to her show–I was the third Indian to be invited! After that I got invitations from leaders, globally. This made my parents reconsider their decision & I was finally accepted back. It’s been an uphill battle, but I had to do it–for me, and the millions like me. It inspired me to convert my 15 acre estate into a community center for the LGBTQ+ community & for anyone dealing with situations out of their control. Having gone through it all myself, I know that the biggest privilege isn’t a huge mansion–it’s being heard, being seen & being accepted for who you are…unconditionally.” –– HOB with Amazon Prime Video brings to you stories of those who are #LaakhonMeinEk. Those who are fierce & courageous; who have not only proved to be game changers in their own right, but also smashed stereotypes, one fearless act at a time.