Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay prince, has accused his parents of attempting to force him to undergo brain surgery as a form of conversion therapy.
Background: Gohil, the heir apparent to the throne of Rajpipla in the state of Gujarat, publicly came out in an interview with a local newspaper in 2006. He first came out to his family in 2002 after he was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.
At 41, Gohil became India’s — and the world’s — first openly gay prince and has since championed LGBTQ+ rights for the rest of the country. He founded the Lakshya Trust, a charity that strives to “achieve sexual tolerance, gender equity, promote awareness for HIV/AIDS and empower the LGBTQI+ members to mainstream them in the society.”
What he’s saying: Gohil, now 57, remembers his parents’ reactions after he opened up about his identity. In a new interview with Sky News, he said they tried to schedule him for brain surgery and electroconvulsive therapy in the U.S., but they ultimately failed.
My parents were planning to open up my brain, perform a surgery on my brain. They were planning to make me undergo electroshock therapy. Fortunately for me and fortunately for them the American Psychiatric Association had said that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, so they were not successful.
Gohil said he did not blame his parents and those who hated him. Instead, he pointed his finger at ignorance and a lack of education as root causes of homophobia and bigotry.
His parents eventually accepted him, and his father even gifted him 15 acres of land to use for an LGBT community building, Sky News reported.
The big picture: Although India decriminalized homosexuality in 2018, the subject remains heavily stigmatized. Some doctors allegedly continue to offer conversion therapy, which Gohil describes as a form of “torture.”