Meet India's First Openly Gay Prince

He has a beautiful message to give to the world.

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Just when you think you have heard and seen it all , something comes along to suprise you in the best ways possible . Meet Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is an openly gay Indian prince who is the son and probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat .

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Gohil , who is proudly and openly gay , uses his position to fight for LGBT rights and spread AIDS awareness. His charity, Lakshya Foundation, works with homosexual men and the transgender community to promote safer sexual practices. Hanging condoms on trees and in loos , Gohil uses his fame to educate people and make them aware of safe sex practices.

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This dapper ,well dressed man had gained international fame for his brave and gutsy work . appearing on Oprah dressed to the nines , he raises his voices against misconceptions that cloud the LGBT community in India.

"People say homosexuality is a part of western culture. It is absolutely wrong," says Gohil in an interview.

"It is the hypocrisy in our society which is refusing to accept this truth. And this motivated me to come out openly and tell the world 'I am gay, so what? And I am proud of it'."

He also adds that he is not the first gay man in Indian royalty , and knows many relatives and other members of royal families to be secretly gay. He discovered he was gay when he was 12 or 13 , finding himself attracted to members of the same sex without knowing what that meant.

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We for one , applaud Gohil for having the courage to speak out on a taboo topic and try and make a difference His beautiful message to the world ?

" I Seek love , not privilege"

Watch his interview with Oprah in the video below.

This is a country where gay sex is still criminalised, the pressure to marry and have children in order to continue the family line is massive and there's a huge stigma attached to homosexuality. However, there was no pressure on the Prince to marry at first. In the video, he says he did it 'voluntarily' because he thought that will make him 'normal.'

Manavendra says that he is not the only homosexual man in the Indian royalty. In the video he claims that he knew several relatives and friends from royal families who were gay, but could never 'come out'.

When he came out to his parents, they refused to accept it. So, they took him to several doctors to 'make him straight'. They offered to pay money for any form of surgery. They also took him to religious leaders.

After they failed to 'convert him back to normal', the Queen, took out an ad in the newspaper to publicly disown her only son. In his home state, effigies of the prince were burned and demands were made that he be stripped of his title for bringing shame to his family line.

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"I'm not attached to my biological family and that is something that happens in most royal families. Because you're not brought up by them – they're there to give birth to you and then you're in the care of servants... I have never experienced love and affection from my own biological mother so when my parents disapproved or disowned me, it didn't hurt me at all," he once told Guardian in an interview.

In 2000, a sense of injustice compelled Prince Manvendra to start The Lakshya Trust, a community-based organisation dedicated to supporting gay men and to education about and prevention of HIV/Aids. "It's doing well, a lot more people are educated now," he says in the video.

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When Oprah Winfrey called the Prince to her show, he had said, "When I say that the homosexuals are not free in India, we don't have the freedom to love. All of us are scared. Imagine those who have fallen in love, they've had partners in their lives, they've had boyfriends, they want to go for long-term relationships -- are now all scared. That's where we are losing our freedom."

At the end of the video, the Prince signs off with a lovely message: "We are all human beings. We are all equal... All we want is love. Gay rights cannot just be won in the courtroom but in the hearts and the minds of the people we live with."

We hope the world listens to this one.

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India's LGBT Movement: A Timeline

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