Advocating for the Rights and Well-Being of LGBT Individuals in India --- and All Over the Globe
On this edition of our program, we speak with Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, who belongs to the royal family of the former princely state of Rajpipla in the Indian subcontinent. He's the only known person of royal lineage in modern India to have publicly revealed that he is homosexual. After he suffered a nervous breakdown in 2002, Prince Manvendra's doctors told his family that he was gay, and he himself first talked publicly about his sexual orientation in 2006. As far back as 2000, however, Prince Manvendra started The Lakshya Trust, of which he remains chairman; this is a community-driven group dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and prevention in India. Specifically, it works for AIDS prevention among men who have sex with men, providing counseling services, clinics for treatment of sexually transmitted infections, libraries, and condom-use promotion. By now, Prince Manvendra's efforts on behalf of AIDS-related outreach and safe-sex education --- as well as his gay-rights advocacy for all LGBT populations --- have taken him around the world. He's been the subject of a 2007 BBC Radio 4 documentary, "The Gay Prince of Rajpipla" (and was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show later that same year). He also inaugurated the Euro Pride gay festival in Stockholm in 2008. Last month, while visiting Tulsa, Prince Manvendra stopped by our studios to tell us his own story while also recounting his efforts as an activist and spokesperson.