India's first openly gay prince vows to continue his fight against conversion therapy

India's Royal Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil.

Conversion therapy has been a hot topic for a while now with the LGBTQ+ community calling out the harm it has caused. Twenty states and more than 100 municipalities have banned conversion therapy in the United States, but no nationwide ban has happened as of yet. In India, conversion therapy is still an accepted form of therapy, and though there is evidence that it exacerbates symptoms of depression, shame, addiction, self harm and suicidal tenancies, being gay was outlawed in the country until 2018, and conversion therapy is considered treatment.

Royal Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay prince, is continuing his fight to ban conversion therapy in India. In 2006, the prince made history at the age of 41 by coming out as gay. The decision to come out was immediately condemned due to his position and the fact that India had recently disregarded its outdated law, which used to be punishable by a lifetime in prison. Singh Gohil told Insider that people burned him in effigy. “The day I came out, my effigies were burnt. There were a lot of protests, people took to the streets and shouted slogans saying that I brought shame and humiliation to the royal family and to the culture of India,” he said. “There were death threats and demands that I be stripped of of my title.”


The prince is the 39th direct descendent of the Gohil Rajput dynasty and dedicates his time to supporting LGBTQ+ causes and providing education around LGBTQ+ issues. He blames ignorance around LGBTQ+ people for the way others reacted when he came out as gay. Despite homophobic attitudes and being rejected by his parents, the prince continues to advocate for the queer community in India.

In fact, Singh Gohil is so dedicated to pushing forward education and protection of the LGBTQ+ community that in 2018 he opened up his 15-acre palace grounds to become an LGBTQ+ center. He also launched Lakshya Trust 20 years ago, which is a community-led charity that focuses on education around sexual tolerance, gender equity, HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ+ community. Some may find it surprising that a prince in a country where homosexuality was banned until recently would be such a fierce advocate for queer rights. To Singh Gohil, this has been a long battle starting years before he came out publicly.

The prince revealed to Insider that he was once subjected to conversion therapy due to his family’s dismissal of the idea that he could be homosexual. He said, “They approached doctors to operate on my brain to make me straight and subjected me to electroshock treatments.” Singh Gohli was eventually sent to religious leaders in an effort to help him “behave normally” after conversion therapy was unsuccessful.

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The prince plans to keep advocating for the queer community, saying, “It’s important for people like me who have a certain reputation in society to continue the advocacy. We can’t just stop because the country repealed Section 377,” he explained. “Now we have to fight for issues like same-sex marriage, right to inheritance, right to adoption. It’s a never-ending cycle. I have to keep fighting.”

It's amazing to see such an important person not only be a member of the LGBTQ+ community in India but to openly advocate for it. The fight for equality is not easily won, but having royalty on your side has to be a boost to the cause for the queer people of India.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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