Guest Info

Born in Ajmer, HRH Manvendra Singh Gohil, the son of Maharana Shri Raghubir Singhji Rajendrasinghji Sahib and Maharani Rukmini Devi, faced significant challenges following the Indian government’s 1971 decision to “de-recognize” Indian princes. With the loss of his father’s Maharaja title and privy purse, Manvendra navigated a turbulent period, compounded by a struggle with his sexuality. This inner conflict led to an unconsummated marriage and a 2002 nervous breakdown.

In a courageous move in 2006, Manvendra publicly embraced his identity as a gay man, braving familial and societal resistance but ultimately finding acceptance and support. His journey took a new turn in 2013 when he married DeAndre Richardson, an American gay man bestowed with the title “Duke of Hanumanteshwar” by Manvendra’s father.

Manvendra’s story gained international attention through appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, notably in the “Gays Around the World” segment. His subsequent appearances in 2014 and 2017, as well as a special feature on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” in 2017, solidified him as “India’s first openly gay prince.” Featured in Cheryl Allison’s 2021 documentary, “Pieces of Us,” Manvendra continues to use his platform to raise awareness and advocate for LGBTQ rights. Actively engaged in LGBTQ+ activism, he served as the editor of Fun, a magazine dedicated to the gay male community, embodying resilience, courage, and the power of authenticity and acceptance throughout his inspiring journey.

About the Show

In a groundbreaking 2018 decision, the Supreme Court of India shattered a century-and-a-half-long shroud of discrimination by decriminalising homosexuality. This marked a monumental triumph for LGBTQ+ rights, echoing progress and equality for millions. However, the victory, while celebrated, unfurled a paradox in India’s legal landscape, revealing a stark disparity.

Despite decriminalising homosexuality, the recent Supreme Court ruling highlights an unaddressed facet: the absence of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, including marriage. This dichotomy underscores a disturbing truth – LGBTQ+ individuals in India continue to grapple with a shortfall of rights and protections enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts.

The apex court’s decision retained the legality of Section 377, which prohibits same-sex intercourse. Yet, it carved an exception, excluding consenting adult relationships from its purview. This legal double-edged sword acknowledges the legality of consensual same-sex unions while endorsing a statute that inherently discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community.

India, a nation both proud of its democratic ethos and the ancient Kamasutra, stands at a crossroads. Despite 76 years of independence, echoes of colonial-era prejudices linger. The LGBTQ+ community, shackled by the stigma of being deemed “immoral” or “unnatural,” yearns for genuine liberation.

In this episode, host Shireen Ashton converses with HRH Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, a Global Indian Network Ambassador. Together, they delve into the recent Supreme Court judgment, probing the paradox that persists. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil provides profound insights into not just the legal intricacies but also the deep-rooted homosocial behaviours entrenched in society.

This compelling discussion serves as a poignant reminder – the battle for LGBTQ+ rights in India is far from over. While the decriminalisation of homosexuality is a monumental leap, the journey toward genuine equality remains rife with challenges.

Produced by Global Indian Series for the Global Indian Network.
Script by Rajan Nazran
original idea: Rajan Nazran

Introduction music: (Sound Title) – by Steven F Allen

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