Gay Indian prince gets parade honour
22/06/2009 - 14:45:50
An Indian prince disowned by his family for being homosexual has returned to the country from Brazil after inaugurating this year’s annual Gay Pride Parade.
Prince Manvendrasinh Gohil is the only Indian to have been invited to the event this year in Sao Paulo. He was the chief guest at the parade which saw an estimated 3.5 million people participate.
The prince of the Rajpipla state in Gujarat inaugurated related events at the parade which lasted from June 10-14.
“It was unbelievable to see such a huge gathering,” the prince said.
“And the parade was not the only thing. I inaugurated an office, an art exhibition and even released a book on homosexuality authored by the mother of a gay son.
“I was even made to dance with Samba dancers. The experience was terrific,” he added.
He said people were curious to know more about India, where the practice of homosexuality is still considered a criminal offence. The 43-year-old was disowned by his family after he publicly announced his sexuality.
His rights as the only son and heir to the fortunes of the Rajpipla state were cancelled when his mother Rukminidevi denounced him in a newspaper advertisement in 2006.
Prince Manvendrasinh had struggled with his sexuality for over 30 years and had even agreed to an arranged marriage which ended in divorce a year later when he confessed he was gay.
The prince said he was excited to participate in the event.
“Every person present in the crowd was cheering for India the moment they saw me. It was a very special moment for me. People there are curious to know more about India,” he told Indian newspaper DNA.
Prince Manvendrasinh is fighting to change 19th century laws concerning homosexuality in the country. “I will study the norms that helped in making homosexuality legal in Brazil. I will try to incorporate them in our efforts to make homosexuality legal in India.” The Gay Parade in Sao Paulo first began in 1999 when just 3,000 people participated. It is now one of the biggest events for gays, lesbians and bisexuals from across the worl
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