Prince Manvendra, in his own words: “Being gay to me means happy. And I’m very happy being gay, and I am very proud to be gay, and I would tell this to other people who are gay around the world.
(Gay India) has to get independence. Though India got its freedom in 1947, I think gay India is not yet free. We need our freedom—freedom from stigma and discrimination in our country. And we need to get rid of the colonial law that was imposed by the Britishers when they were ruling India. We have gotten rid of the Britishers, so then I think we should get rid of the law also.
There is a huge gay community (in India), in India if you talk about population in itself we are in billions so even if you take a conservative percentage of say five percent, still I think the gay population would be millions. My coming out story happened in 2006 and basically I was not happy with the hypocrisy prevalent in our society where in the society was not willing to accept the reality of what is the truth. And I could not live the life of a lie, and that is the reason I openly came out as gay and happened to be the world’s first openly member of a royal family to come out as gay. And thereafter I knew that it would definitely have a big impact on the society because it has not been spoken about, it has always been a taboo in our country. We don’t discuss it with the educational situations. So I wanted that more people should talk about this, there should be more arguments on it, or discussions on it, and that’s where we can bring about any type of acceptance in society.
I think my hope for India is to gain the confidence of the world, and India has to survive in this world if it’s to be a part of it. Then I’m sure one of these days India will have to reconcile and come to terms with the reality and have a mindset which will try and accept us for the way we are. I think the biggest strength of India–if I talk about religion–Hinduism is the majority in our country and Hinduism has been quite liberal with regards to homosexuality. We have gay gods and lesbian goddesses. And we have a transgender community in India which is very strong which worships a goddess which also has a lesbian origin. So if you see our history, our culture, everything is kind of favoring homosexuality because I think in India homosexuality has been existing since much before the Muslims or the Christians invaded our country. So I think that this is one of the biggest strengths we have. When the hypocrites say we imported homosexuality, I would say (the opposite), we exported homosexuality to the other countries.
I think my biggest success was to come on the Oprah show. Because Oprah gave me a global platform. All around the world I got invitations coming to visit different countries, different events, and that’s how I could travel all over the world and meet different people, not just from the community but political leaders, people from the courts, the judges, the government officers, media, religious leaders, all people across the world and try and mainstream (being gay). My whole issue is how we can mainstream homosexuality in our society, and I think the biggest challenge which I’m facing right now is hypocrisy. And I’m a warrior, I was meant to fight, my ancestors used to fight the wars, I’m fighting hypocrites.
My advice to the young children is to get the right education, get the right awareness, on any subject whether it is dealing with homosexuality or anything. Education and awareness according to me are the key issues which will bring about acceptance on any issue.”