2:46 PM Posted by pmsrsg
Labels: Manvendra Singh Gohil in Oprah Winfrey show
Labels: Manvendra Singh Gohil in Oprah Winfrey show
In 2007, Oprah Show viewers met the world's only openly gay prince, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla, India. Prince Manvendra told how difficult it had been for him to come out. He was publicly rebuked by his parents and risked his freedom—homosexual acts were punishable by 10 years to life in prison.
Being on The Oprah Winfrey Show even once might be an opportunity of a lifetime for most. However, gay prince of the erstwhile Rajpipla state Manvendra Singh Gohil is set to appear for second time. He received an invitation from the producers of the show to appear in the farewell season of the show. Prince Manvendra returned to The Oprah Show in 2011.
Gohil's appearance on the show in 2007 catapulted him to fame globally. His was a rare case of a royalty admitting to being gay. This had seemingly caught the fancy of the producer then. Now, Gohil will talk about how things had changed for him after he appeared on the show.
Gohil, too, was surprised when he got a call asking him for a second appearance on the show. "I had not expected this. I was just hoping to meet Oprah as she had promised me this if she ever visited India," he said before leaving for the US with close aide Sylvester Merchant. Gohil said he would remind Oprah of her promise.
He vividly remembers the first show. "I was a bit apprehensive initially as I was told that Oprah rigorously grilled her guests. I was asked to be prepared," Gohil said. But the meeting was quite a contrast. "She was very polite and gentle. She kept addressing me as 'Your Highness' or 'Prince Manvendra'. Probably, she realised that I was honest and had nothing to hide," Gohil said. Gohil agrees that it was the show that brought him to international limelight. "Be it being called to gay prides at Stockholm, Amsterdam and Sau Paulo or meeting Calra Bruni-Sarkozy - they all happened after the show," he said.
Merchant, closely associated with Lakshya Trust patronised by Gohil, said the show had greatly helped their work. "The show reached several opinion makers and things changed in many ways," he said.
Manvendra had invited Oprah to visit Rajpipla during his first interview with her in October 2007. Then too she had agreed to visit Rajpipla and even inquired how to reach there. "I was planning to remind her of what she had told me in the first interview. But before I did so, she herself told me that Rajpipla visit was on cards during her tour to India," Gohil said. He added that Oprah was planning a travel show and would visit India in 2012. "This was unexpected," Gohil said.
"She referred to the place on a couple of occasions. She said I should keep a fine room reserved for her at the palace. I told her I would keep the best room for her and she should not bother about things once she reaches India," Gohil said. He even invited her to inaugurate a retirement home that he was building for elderly gay persons. "She said that she would like to do that," Gohil said. The home is still under construction and Gohil hopes to finish it by the time Oprah visits India.
As you scroll through the photographs of Shannon and Seema’s wedding (the first Hindu lesbian marriage in the US), you cannot help but tear up a little. Both of them look so much in love with each other. Everything about the wedding ceremony looks absolutely spectacular, including the two lovely ladies. What draws you more closer to their celebration is that their parents too are happily involved, blessing them wholeheartedly. And, this beautiful homosexual wedding can actually make us learn some great life lessons. So, take a look at a few of them, and enjoy the beautiful journey of your relationship with your sweetheart.
Be yourself : Coming out of the closet is not an easy task for anybody. Shannon and Seema took the leap of faith and revealed about their relationship to the world. So, follow their suit and accept your relationship (be it straight or a homosexual one) in front of everyone. Do not let the society’s norms stop you from being what you are. You have the freedom to do what you want in your life. Do not let the world dictate the terms of your life.
Love conquers all : Homosexuality is a taboo in Indian society. For many, it is a biological disorder, while a few consider it as last birth’s karma. But, Seema and Shannon’s wedding proved it all wrong. For them love knows no boundaries, quite literally. They proved the world that everything comes second to love.
Your parents want you to be happy : Your parents may yell at you, may disagree with your views and constantly fight with you over mundane issues, but at the end of the day, they want you to be happy. Both Shannon and Seema’s parents may have had problems accepting their choice, but in the end they wholeheartedly accepted their daughters’ wishes and made their wedding possible.
Go for a fusion : Seema came in a palki and Shannon walked down the aisle with a bouquet of flowers. Seema was dressed in an Indian bridal attire, while Shannon teamed her wedding gown with maang tikka and bangles. This fusion of Indian and western bridal dresses added a delightful touch to the ceremony.
Both the partners are equal : During the wedding ceremony, both Shannon and Seema, applied sindoor in each other’s maang. This was one of the most beautiful moments of the wedding, as it symbolised their belief that they both are equal partners in their relationship.
Let your hair down : As this is an unconventional wedding, many eyebrows would have definitely been raised. And, this would have made the duo upset for sure. But, braving all odds, the couple made sure that they enjoy every bit of their special day.
There is so much we can learn from the fact that an Indian family happily accepted their daughter’s decision and participated in her wedding. In a country where homosexuals have to deal with immense social stigma, emotional and psychological agony, outright rejection of their sexual identities by their families, physical torture and a compulsion to marry people of the opposite sex, it was indeed heart warming to see Seema’s parents partake in the wedding celebrations. Their gesture is nothing but a mature understanding of the fact that even though they may seem different from heterosexual couples, homosexuals share similar values, hopes and dreams. From this and all other homosexual nuptials, the least we can do is to drive home the point that as long as there is companionship between two men or two women, it should be enough to grant the couple societal acceptance.