Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil will be at the US city of Douglas-Saugatuck on Aug. 17 to discuss his new public awareness campaign, “Free Gay India,” according to pridesource.com.
The event will be hosted by Chicago human rights attorney Jay Paul Deratany who wrote the GLAAD-nominated play “Haram Iran,” based on the true story of the hanging of two Iranian teenagers who were alleged to be gay.
The event will include a brunch and Q&A session at The Kirby historic mansion in Michigan’s best gay travel destination of Douglas-Saugatuck.
“I have followed Prince Manvendra’s compelling story and the challenges he faced when he chose to come out about his sexual preferences in 2002,” Deratany told pridesource.com. “I’m honored to welcome him (and) I’m thrilled that he chose our community to discuss the important work he is doing with his Free Gay India campaign.”
The Hindu Prince is the 39th heir to a 650-year-old royal family of the former princely state of Rajpipla in India and is the only openly gay prince in the world.
In 2006, Manvendra received the UNAIDS Civil Society Award from the United Nations, and has also appeared twice on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to share his story of struggle.
Manvendra’s parents attempted but failed to disinherit him after he revealed his sexual orientation because of India’s modern inheritance laws. He was born 1965, the son of Maharana Shri Raghubir Singhji Rajendrasinghji Sahib, who inherited the title of Maharana of Rajpipla in 1963. The princes were derecognized by the Republic of India in 1971.
In January 1991, he married because, he claims, “I thought after marriage I will be all right because I never knew and nobody told me that I was gay and [that] this is normal.” The marriage which was never consummated soon ended in divorce.
After his divorce he became involved in a social network to help the LGBT community in Gujarat through his HIV/AIDS prevention work. The Lakshya Trust that he founded trains female field workers who educate women married to MSM about safe sex practices.
When the Indian Supreme Court past December reinstated the British-colonial era law that criminalizes same-sex relations between consenting adults, Manvendra launched a global public awareness campaign called Free Gay India to put a stop to LGBT discrimination in India and the world.
Indian gay rights activists are waging a legal battle to do away with the colonial-era “Section 377” law that describes same-sex relations as “unnatural” and punishable with life imprisonment.