Indian Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, who was disowned by his family in 2006 after coming out to them, has reportedly been invited by Oprah to appear on her talk show later this month.
Homosexuality is still illegal in India. Gohil puts on a festival at his pink palace every year for gays, to promote the arts and awareness about HIV and AIDS, Reuters reports:
“Gohil, who descends from the royal rulers of Rajpipla, a small town in the western state of Gujarat, was publicly disowned by his family after talking about his sexuality with the media. India abolished princely kingdoms after independence from Britain in 1947, but many formerly royal families continue to lead lavish lives in sprawling palaces and use their old titles. ‘I had to deal with opposition from my family and locals of Rajpipla who felt I was involved in activities that are unsuitable in society,’ he said. Rajpipla is a very conservative, sleepy town, where women cover their heads and lower their gaze before men.”
When he came out in 2006, Gohil said: “I knew that they would never accept me for who I truly am, but I also knew that I could no longer live a lie. I wanted to come out because I had gotten involved with activism and I felt it was no longer right to live in the closet. I came out as gay to a Gujarati daily because I wanted people to openly discuss homosexuality since it’s a hidden affair with a lot of stigma attached.”
Gohil’s festival included not only gay people, but “socialites” and “curious villagers” interested in mingling. Said Gohil: “Gays are talented, creative, imagine a world without us. I was born gay with some talent and skills, this festival is for people like me.”