Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil Of India: “I Had No Clue” When I Came Out

I’ve never regretted coming out but when I look back, I realize I had no clue. When I was publicly disinherited, I realized I had to find a job. Belief in myself and my abilities became my most useful asset. To be free first you must be financially independent.

Now I am an organic farmer, and my economic empowerment has been a benefit of coming out. I can use my wealth how I want without being accused of misappropriating my inheritance. I can fight for gay rights because I am financially independent.”

Prince Manavendra Singh Gohil, the first openly gay royal in India, to Queerty at the First Asian Symposium on Gay and Lesbian Tourism

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  • TMikel

    Huzzah for him! I applaud his courage and his honesty.

  • Ken S

    I guess it’s the most positive angle from which you can view the comings and goings of a “royal” person. I’m with Mark Twain, though, who said “the kingly office is entitled to no respect. It was originally procured by the highwayman’s methods; it remains a perpetuated crime, can never be anything but a symbol of a crime.” That one of the world’s most populous countries and fasting-emerging economic powers still has a hereditary monarch- a ‘king’ who inherited (and will pass on) power by virtue of no more qualification than the family he happened to be born into- is an absurd affair of state in the 21st century. I sure as hell wouldn’t ask the son of a cardiologist to perform surgery on me just because of who his dad was- why should a whole nation’s people be subject to a sovereign just because of who his dad was?

  • Freddie

    ^Ken S, why is India’s system of government any of your business? Firstly, India is a republic, and these royals are simply old Indian aristocratic families. Secondly, even if it were a monarchy, that’s THEIR choice. If they wanted a republic, they’d create one!

  • James

    @Freddie: Seriously, did you think before you posted this?

    Or did you just decide to overlook the fact that India is the world’s largest democracy?
    Or that they’re a representative democracy and constitutional republic like the US?
    Or that they use the same three branches of government as the US (Executive, Legislative and Judicial)?
    Or that they have a Prime Minister and a (female) President?

    Ignorance isn’t cute, please educate yourself before you bash a group of people.
    It kind of puts you on the same level as a homophobe.

  • James

    My apologies, Freddie. I meant to reply to Ken S.

  • Giselle

    I saw a UK programme he took part in a few years back. He is just one of the nicest, loveliest guys you can ever imagine! Completely genuine.
    I wish him all the very best.
    No longer being next in line might be a good thing, he will be able to have a much happier private life.

  • Ken S

    @James: Before I “bash a group of people?” I was criticizing the existence of a ‘royalty’ in India. That they’re a democratic republic, that they have separation of powers, and so on, is beside the point that a monarchy still exists. And to Freddie, hereditary aristocracies should concern everyone, everywhere who values democratic systems- because as long as those “royal” bloodlines are afforded special status for nothing more than the fact that some ancestor of theirs seized power at some point in the nation’s history, it gives a kind of legitimacy to undemocratic hereditary tyrants.

    To the committed democrat (no, not Democrat- democrat) the very existence of the position of unelected “king” or “queen” anywhere ought to appear as a lingering stain and a throwback to the age of “divine right” to rule. As long as it’s recognized at all- full stop- it looms over democracies near and far, tempting leaders to try and secure their own dynasties with contempt for the governed. And intolerance for the idea of an unjust socio-political position is not the same as intolerance for the people born into those positions- but it is a call for them to abdicate, to renounce, to melt down their crowns and to earn their place in the echelons like the un-blooded ‘commoners’ are required to.

    I’ll say it again: any unelected, hereditary monarch anywhere– so long as other nations recognize them and use their honorifics and don’t treat them like they’re deluded pretenders to divine favor, and so long as common people defend their privilege with appeals to cultural relativism- represents the seed of tyranny, ready to sprout up again amid the ruins of our own democracies if they should ever fall down. If you respect the title of “king” at all, how can you say with conviction that you’ll never surrender to one and end up his serf? And if that’s the case, how can anyone else trust you to stand up for democratic freedoms?

  • CBRad

    @Ken S: You’re just mad because YOU want to be a Prince !

  • Ken S

    @CBRad: Not so much. I had it easy enough as it is- as a middle-class white male in Canada, if I hadn’t been gay I might never have had any impetus to give a crap about anything or anyone but myself. I’m grateful that being some kind of marginalized outsider during my formative years taught me something of justice and compassion. As it is, I already get accused of being full of myself, I can only imagine what an unbearable, oblivious, self-centred, over-privileged, under-aware, spoiled sonofabitch I might have turned out to be if I’d literally had a silver spoon in my mouth and people waiting on me hand and food, calling me “sire” or some shit on account of the circumstance of my birth. I’m not sure how any ‘royal’ person can help but have a distorted worldview totally divorced from the experience of- and in my opinion, disqualifying them to govern over- the common people.

  • David Ehrenstein

    The Prince’s story is a lesson to us all. His gay Indian predecessors would have gotten married and had boytoys on the side (see Merchant-Ivory’s Authobiography of a Princess which deals with this in a sub-plot) But he decided to not take “the easy way out” and live in Truth. Luckily he was able to gain finacial independence. This coupled with the world-wide news of his coming out makes him a powerful and respected figure. Whether you care about the “monarachy” or not we should all salute him.

  • the other Greg

    @Ken S: You’re confusing two separate things. Unlike your own country, India hasn’t had a “monarchy” since they got rid of your monarch’s father in 1947.

    The royal families in India are FORMER royals with no governmental role at all. (An analogy would be Germany since 1918.) In a few Indian states the rajahs had a very few leftover traditional roles until 1971 when that was abolished. So there is no monarchy in India, nor any currently royal families in any governmental sense.

    This (former) prince was disinherited by his family (who are still wealthy) when they found out he was gay.

    The Canadian monarchy, however, is arguably a factor that prevents your great country from becoming as fucked up and idiotic as the USA – or worse, PART of the USA – so maybe you should think twice about getting rid of it!

  • Shawn

    Your misspelled his name at the very bottom.

  • shane

    @ the other Greg.

    You’re joking right? We Canadians have a Prime Minister. The Queen of England has absolutely no say or power in our country. It’s an arcane tradition that her face still appears on some of our currency. Maybe it’s you who should think twice before posting about something that you have obviously no knowledge about.

  • Ken S

    @the other Greg: Thanks for the information. I still think that the argument-for-context glosses over the very basic flaw, though. There are still people running around in this world calling themselves “King” this and “Prince” that, enjoying all kinds of privileges and prestige that they did not earn- including people taking those titles seriously instead of ridiculing them to the tune of “go back to the 1700’s, your highness.” Privileges they inherited because decades or centuries ago, some ancestor of theirs soaked the earth in the blood of everyone who didn’t consent to their unilateral rule. And whether those descendants still wield any temporal state power or not, even acknowledging those titles (unless they were elected “King”- recently- by their countrymen) is consenting to some vestige of a power-grab that I don’t think many so-called civilized countries today would stand for. Today we’re in the business of toppling dictators, who gain and hold power by much the same means as the royals of history did.

    I’m not quibbling about whether this prince or that queen is “good” or “bad,” I’m saying that if democracy means anything to us, we ought to treat every “royal” out there as illegitimate. And while I am well aware of the shock it would cause to Canada’s politics to abolish the monarchy that our PM is now sucking up to like some kind of lapdog, I’m all for taking our chances. The queen of England might be a very nice lady, she might have worked the vehicle pool during WWII, but those things can be said of any number of people; she and her kin have done nothing particular of late to deserve to be as rich or as influential as they are. They have their little hoard of gold and jewels that they got by killing medieval rivals and sending armies and navies off to conquer other nations, and they still live off the tax teat of their people while providing… what? A few flowery speeches a year, fashions to follow, and a figurehead that spares the government some of the real hard work of governing? It’s ghoulish. They’re ghosts wandering the halls of modern statehood, they should be exorcised and made to make their way honestly, like their ‘subjects.’ My parliament might think they’re relevant, but I didn’t vote for them in any way, shape, or form- they’re nothing special to me.

    Any ‘leader’ whose followers had no say whatsoever in selecting or approving them for the position- who inherited it from some blood-soaked ancestor- is a thief. Let them call themselves whatever they like, crazy people do it all the time, but they should all be turfed. Good on Manvendra getting a real job- they should all have to.

  • CBRad

    @Ken S: ( wink )

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