“I’m a nomad. I don’t live in one particular place. I go where the world wants me to go and share my ideas about the LGBT Community, being a part of it and working for change.”
The GNLU Centre for Law and Society organized a Special Guest Lecture on ‘LGBT Community and their Legal Rights’ on April 18, 2016, Monday. The lecture was delivered by Mr. Manvendra Singh Gohil, Chairperson of the Lakshya Trust Foundation which works for and with the LGBT Community. Mr. Gohil is an openly gay Indian male whose story of coming out had made headlines in 2006 by virtue of his being the son and probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat. He faced extreme resistance from the society with effigies of him being burnt publicly. He has appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show and been featured in a show entitled ‘Gay around the World’ and a BBC Television series, Undercover Princes. He shared the journey and his experience pertaining to these milestones with the students of GNLU.
Mr. Manvendra Singh discussed his views regarding the LGBT community’s backward position and the ostracization faced by them, as well as the role of identity as unique to each individual. He also briefly discussed the role of the courts and the Naaz Foundation judgment by the Delhi High Court. He expected positive outcomes in the future in light of the NALSA judgement pertaining to Transgender Rights, as a symbol of the impending change.
The session was extremely interactive with students raising questions pertaining to the interpretation of Section 377, Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Mr. Manvendra’s views on the same. He also raised various points regarding the hypocritical nature of society in light of the images and sculptures in Indian places of worship as well as the history of eunuchs in Indian courts and the role played by them. Students questioned him on the parallels between the LGBT movement and the Feminist movement as well as his views on Gay Prides which have resulted in severe opposition in society.
He also posed students questions regarding funds for the cause and whether supporting homosexuality could also be considered a crime in itself when it furthered and resulted in the progress of society as well as the various terms used by society in light of one common identity- of being humans. The lecture was extremely honest and provided the students with food for thought with various perceptions and stereotypes shattered.