Manvendra Singh Gohil is an Indian prince and heir presumptive to the Rajpipla throne, an erstwhile princely State of Gujarat. He is the first prince in the world to come out as gay openly and is one of India’s foremost LGBTQ+ activists.
Manvendra Singh Gohil was born on Thursday, 23 September 1965 (age 58 years; as of 2023) in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. His zodiac sign is Libra. He completed his studies at the Bombay Scottish School and at Amrutben Jivanlal College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai.
Height (approx.): 6′ 1″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Manvendra Singh Gohil belongs to the Gohil Rajput dynasty.
Parents & Siblings
Manvendra Singh Gohil’s father, Raghubir Singhji Rajendrasinghji Sahib, is the honorary Maharaja of Rajpipla. His mother, Rukmini Devi, is the honorary Maharani of Rajpipla. He has a younger sister, Minaxi Kumari Sahiba, who is the honorary Maharajkumari of Rajpipla; she is married to Kunwar Digvijay Chand of Chenani Jagir.
In January 1991, Yuvraj Manvendra Singh got married to Yuvarani Chandrika Kumari, daughter of Maharaj Gajendrapal Singhji of Jhabua. However, the couple got divorced within one year of marriage. In an open letter, Yuvarani Chandrika Kumari confirmed that their marriage remained unconsummated and said,
I am returning in the same state as I came.”
On 3 July 2013, he got married to DeAndre Richardson, a celebrity make-up artist who later became the Duke of Hanumanteshwar, in the US. DeAndre Richardson is thirteen years younger than Manvendra Singh Gohil.
Manvendra first got married at the age of 25, but his relationship with his wife did not work out since he never felt attracted towards her. He then moved to Bombay and came across a gay activist, Ashok Row Kavi, who helped him realise his true sexual orientation. In an interview, Gohil mentioned about his friendship with Ashok and said,
Ashok gave me valuable counselling, and it was through my friendship with him that I was able to accept that everything I had gone through in my life was called ‘homosexuality’! Through this connection to him, I realised that I am a gay man. So, I essentially came out to myself when I was in my 30s.”
In 2002, Manvendra suffered from a nervous breakdown due to which his parents became acquainted with his sexuality, after hearing it from Manvendra’s psychiatrists. His parents tried to keep it a secret from society and forced him to undergo conversion therapies. In an interview, while mentioning about the difficulties he faced, he said,
I felt humiliated when my parents visited doctors in the hope that they could perform brain surgery, and electroshock therapy to make me straight. It was an absolute case of discrimination and violation of human rights. Whether I’m a prince or not a prince, parents have no right to put their children through this kind of torture.”
However, his parents were unsuccessful since the doctors in the US refused to operate and mentioned that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. In 2006, he openly came out as gay for which he made headlines for a week. Later, his parents published an advertisement in the newspaper about disowning him as their son while accusing him of bringing dishonour to the royal family. Later, the prince reconciled with his family. Tatler
In 2009, DeAndre contacted Manvendra online because he was fascinated by Manvendra’s photographs in traditional Indian attire that he found while working with a fashion brand. DeAndre had no idea about Manvendra belonging to a royal family prior to contacting him. Back then, Andre was already married to an American, and Manvendra was in a relationship too. In 2011, they met for the first time and developed a strong friendship. However, in 2012, Andre divorced his husband, and Manvendra separated from his partner. In an interview, the prince revealed he would often divert the conversation whenever he was confronted about his relationship with DeAndre and said,
I kept it discreet and told them that he is my consultant, guide and spiritual advisor.”
In 2012, DeAndre proposed to Manvendra, and the couple tied the knot in 2013.
Manvendra Singh Gohil follows Hinduism.
Awards & Honours
- Manvendra Singh Gohil was invited by Matthew Devlen, co-chairman, to the International Arcadia Chapter of the Great Order of the Amarant and their biennial Amarenter Ball in Stockholm, where they recognize and reward people who have made noticeable contributions towards society. On 7 May 2022, he was presented with sashes which had medals attached to them for his contribution towards the LGBTQIA+ community and their rights.
- In 2014, he was honoured at the GMCLA Voice Awards for his courageous act of living as an openly gay man and founding the Lakshya Trust.
- On 11 June 2016, he was honoured with the humanitarian award at the Emerson College Los Angeles (ELA).
- On 28 May 2017, he was bestowed with the ‘Rainbow Warrior Award’ at the 8th edition of the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.
- In December 2021, he was presented with the Leader of the Decade award by the Women Economic Forum.
- Gay bar: Kitty Su
- City: Mumbai
- Queer movement: Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride
- Dessert: Gulab Jamun
- Actor: Aamir Khan
- Manvendra Singh Gohil is the 39th direct descendant of a 650-year-old royal dynasty, which was established in 1370 AD.
- He did not have many friends as a kid as it was against the royal protocol to mix with other common children. He rarely saw his mother as a kid and was taken care of by a governess. At the age of 10, he realised that the woman who raised him was just an employee and not his actual mother.
- Manvendra Singh Gohil is a left-handed person due to which he struggled while performing the religious rituals of the royal family that were designed according to right-handed people. His parents consulted a doctor and asked for ways to make him a right-handed person.
- According to him, hiding his sexuality for a long time resulted in him having suicidal thoughts.
- He was shocked to see the older generation being more accepting of him. His paternal grandmother, on her deathbed, conveyed to him that she was happy for him. His 97-year-old secretary and a 91-year-old former teacher asked to march in a Pride parade with him.
- According to him, he started to interact more with his father and in a less formal setting only after he got married to DeAndre Richardson. Since his husband does not come from a royal lineage, he adapted to some of his habits and let go of a few protocols followed by a royal family.
- In 2018, Manvendra Singh Gohil and his husband DeAndre Richardson established India’s first resource centre for the LGBTQ community at the royal property in Hanumanteshwar. The property is located on the banks of the river Narmada. During the British Era, it hosted various high-level dignitaries like the Viceroy of India. The centre was developed by the Lakshya Trust and was designed by DeAndre Richardson. It provides a roof to the people who have been disowned by their families for being homosexual and aims at making them financially independent by imparting skills in various fields. It is also open to the allies of the LGBTQ community who support the community and their rights.
- On 24 October 2007, he appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and he was one of the three persons featured in the show entitled ‘Gay Around the World.’ On the show, he talked about the difficulties he faced in coming out to the world about his sexuality and how he risked his freedom because back then, homosexual acts were punishable under law. Later, he again appeared on the show in 2014 and 2017.
- In January 2008, he announced that he would adopt a child from his extended family to be his heir. The Times of India
- In 2009, he appeared in a BBC documentary series called ‘Undercover Princes,’ which covered his journey of finding love in Brighton, UK. Instagram – Manavendra Singh Gohil
- He is the editor of the gay men-centric magazine Fun, published in Rajpipla since July 2010.
- In 2017, he appeared in the reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians in which he talked about the repercussions he had to face after coming out as gay.
- In January 2021, a rumour of Gohil joining the BJP was circulated. He later clarified that he only met with Dr. Vijay Shah to congratulate him on becoming the President of BJP’s Vadodara unit as he runs a sanctuary for queer people in Gujrat. Vice
- In 2000, the prince started the Lakshya Trust in Gujarat to help the gay community. It is a community-based organisation, working for HIV/AIDS education and prevention. While delivering a speech at Sardar Patel University, he mentioned the hurdles he often faced while advocating for gay rights and the harassment faced by volunteers of Lakshya Trust. However, after the government repealed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, it helped him become more vocal about the rights of the gay community. In his speech, he said,
I am not ashamed in saying that many religious leaders have come to me for having sex. In fact, while promoting HIV screening, I specifically target ashrams. I ask my volunteers and staffers to go at this ashrams and conduct HIV tests there as there will be HIV positive persons there.”
In 2006, the Lakshya Trust won the Civil Society Award for its contribution to preventing HIV/AIDS among homosexual men.
- He is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health and is an ambassador consultant of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
- He enjoys organic farming and selling manure that comprises earthworms.
- He was featured in a cookery show for Royal Recipes, which aired on the TV channel ‘Epic.’