Prince's Secret Tears Royal Family Apart, Shocks His Nation

"I knew I was ready to face the worst situation," he said. "They cut out pictures from the newspaper where my interview was published and they put it in the bonfire. They declared me dead."

'Even a Prince Can Be Gay'

Homosexuality is against the law in India, and can be penalized with ten years to life in jail. Singh Gohil has become both the voice and face of those persecuted for their sexual orientation. Not only has the Prince publicly fallen from grace, but his mother has publicly disowned him, and his place as the next King of Rajpipla was in jeopardy.

As the only son of the current King and Queen, Singh Gohil is the only heir to the throne. His father, King Ragubir Gohil Singh said that, "It's not natural. Anything which is not natural, is not something which you can't procreate, you can't have children because it is not something which one is meant for. Otherwise there'll be no life on this earth."

Though his coming out was met with disappointment and outrage, Singh Gohil has adopted a noble cause, educating people about homosexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention.

"I came out in the newspapers openly that I'm gay and basically [because] I wanted to show to the world that even a prince can be gay," he said. "I wanted people to discuss homosexuality, which was always considered a taboo and a stigma… it's been existing in India but no one talked about it."

Raising Awareness

Gay activists estimate that 80 percent of gay Indian men are married to women, and argue that the widespread denial of homosexuality inhibits education of safe sex practices, resulting in a rise in HIV and AIDS in the gay population.

"This is high time we talk about HIV [and] homosexuality," said Singh Gohil. "Unless we talk, there will be no awareness and it will start spreading and it will be too late…it will [get] out control."

Singh Gohil created Lakshya, a grassroots gay-outreach organization centered around counseling gay men and teaching safe sex practices. The organization is still in the early stages of development.

"There is a lack of awareness," Manvendra explained. "The purpose of my coming out openly is for a cause, for a good cause, for the control of HIV/AIDS."

The prince who would be king is now dedicating all of his time and energy into gay activism. His future is uncertain, but Singh Gohil said that if he ever does take his place on the throne, it would be on his own terms, as the first openly gay Indian royal of the 21st century.

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