India’s first openly gay prince endured years of torturous conversion therapy. Now, he’s fighting to make the practice illegal.

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04/19/2022

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, the 39th direct descendant of India’s Gohil Rajput dynasty, knew he was gay at age 12. But he could only live his truth three decades later. Gohil publicly came out in an interview to a local newspaper in 2006, becoming the first openly gay royal in the country. He was 41 at the time. Until 2018, homosexuality was illegal in India, punishable under Section 377, a colonial-era draconian law that demanded up to life imprisonment for anyone committing sexual acts “against the order of nature.” Naturally, Gohil’s public unmasking triggered a nation-wide scandal. The entire town of Rajpipla — a formerly princely state located in the western state of Gujarat where his ancestors were kings — turned on him. “The day I came out, my effigies were burnt. There were a lot of protests, people took to the streets and shouted slogans saying that I brought shame and humiliation to the royal family and to the culture of India. There were death-threats and demands that I be stripped off of my title,” Gohil told Insider over a phone call from the coastal state of Kerala.

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