India’s gay prince plans to adopt

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The Indian prince, disowned two months ago by his family for being gay, announced this week that he will adopt a child.

The 40-year-old Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, said to be the first member of any royal family in the country to publicly reveal that he is gay, was stripped of his title and right over the royal properties in Gujarat, Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country in June for making his homosexuality public, reports The New Indian Express.

The decision of Prince Manavendra to go for an adopted child came after the royal family recently softened its stand against him expressing its desire to take him back into the family fold.

“I did it in anger,” admitted the prince’s father, Raghubir Singh Gohil, in an interview with The Times of India earlier this month. “I was pressurised by various people. Manvendra is a gifted individual. He is also very dedicated and I must admit he never gave me any trouble he studied well, played the tabla and mastered yoga. He has been a good son.”

Homosexuality is banned in India and punishable by up to 10 years in jail, but gay activists are trying to lift the veil of secrecy over the community in a country where public hugging or kissing even among heterosexuals invites angry stares, lewd comments and even beatings.

According to The Express, Manavendra said since the matter had been sorted out following a dialogue with his parents, he was seriously considering adopting a child, preferably a teenaged one, who could understand him and take care of the royal family. He also wishes to send the child abroad for higher education.

In early July, Reuters reported that Gohil said he had found happiness among Gujarat’s gay community and was not interested in his inheritance.

“I could not have lived a lie forever,” he told Reuters. “I will not stake my claim to the property. I have found a family in the (gay) community and am happy working for the community,” said Gohil, who runs a nonprofit organisation working on HIV/AIDS among homosexuals.

The gay prince had in fact left the Rajpipla palace four years ago after his wife sought to divorce him. Later, he championed the gay movement in Gujarat through an NGO, Lakshya Trust, of which he is the chairman. Though the royal family knew that its only heir was gay, the family disowned Manavendra after he made it public in a daily newspaper.

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