World’s first openly gay prince pioneers LGBT university course
India’s Manvendra Singh Gohil, who is believed to be the first openly gay prince in the world, has pioneered an LGBT+ module at Karnavati University in the western state of Gujarat.
All students reading for a degree in law and liberal studies will be required to take the module, which is called “Proclivity of Gender: Socio-legal approach to LGBTQ Community.”
It will look at the LGBT+ rights movement in India and the impact of Article 377 of India’s Penal Code, which was introduced when India was ruled by the British Empire, and outlaws same-sex sexual activity.
India’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a case to overturn this colonial-era ban.
The course will also look at mental and physical health, including HIV.
“Through this course, we will present facts about the community, that are backed by evidence and reasoning to the students to make them understand various aspects of the LGBT community,” the prince told The Times of India.
Prince Manvendra came out in 2006 and had his family inheritance rights removed by the rest of the Royal family in Gujarat.
He is a direct descendant of Gohil Dynasty Of Rajpipla in Gujarat State, and is the likely heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla.
In December, it was announced that Prince Manvendra would open an LGBT+ centre on the grounds of his family palace, despite his family’s disapproval.
The centre, which will be named Hanumanteshwar 1927, will be based on the grounds of Prince Manvendra’s palace in the Indian state of Gujarat.
“It is important for the LGBT community to go to a place where they can experience the freedom to be who they are even if it’s for a moment,” Prince Manvendra told Gay Star News when interviewed about the centre.
The centre will be run in conjunction with charity the Lakshya Trust, founded by the Prince before his coming out in 2006.
The prince spoke out about his sexuality and coming out on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2007.
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The Prince said:”Before coming out, I was living a double life and a life of lie and falsehood which threatened my mental health condition to succumb to a nervous breakdown.
“After coming out my life has become transparent, honest and with a sense of relief and with the freedom to do what I am without fear.”
He continued: “My mental health condition has also improved since I always wanted to live a truthful life.”
Lakshya Trust is fundraising for the centre, which hopes to open next year.
Last year, Prince Manvendra recorded a moving video about coming out when his country still criminalises gay sex.