Two Gay Royals
Prince Mavendra Singh Gohil is the presumed heir of the Maharaja of
Rajpipla in Gujarat, and is openly gay. He loves going on TV to talk about it. However, there is some doubt as to whether he would eventually inherit his father’s mantle. He claims not to have known about his homosexuality until it after he was married off. If at first he was adulated by Rajpipla, and even was a role model to the town, he became a subject of derision and ridicule once the truth emerged. The people who had cheered his appearance once, now heckled him, and burnt his effigy for what they said, was the shame he had brought upon them. His family disowned him, although it is not clear of the extent of that. He has often said that he regrets ruining the life of the woman he married, but he did not know any better. He thought that marriage would “straighten” him up. Since he came out, he started not only campaigning for LGBT rights, but transformed his palace into
a refuge for Gays and Lesbians. He campaigns vigorously, promoting tolerance and preaching love. Give us a little love, he says, and we will fill you with love to overflowing.
And he has a lot of catching up to do, having lived in the closet for so long.
On the other hand Sultan Qabboos bin Sayid al Said came to the throne of
Oman after deposing the reigning sultan, his father, and exiling him to
London. He has been given a good press here, because he was a Sandhurst man, and is very pro-British, and has donated to British causes. He has been presented as a Renaissance man _ he plays the flute _ and is considered an enlightened man. In fact he is a repressive autocrat. He brooks no criticism. The Live news on Omani TV is pre-recorded in case some unflattering lines about Qabboos had filtered through the heavy censorship.
But the Sultan is openly gay. He has never come out as such, but effete young men in beautiful clothes, displaying Rolex watches and jewellery are at his
beck and call in the palace. He is known to have an English lover as well. Everybody in the Middle East is aware of this, but in Oman the press is muzzled and nothing of this can be printed in the local papers. Homosexuality is illegal in the country, and any act is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, which is much more lenient than the death sentence in Saudi Arabia, for instance. Only cases which cause public disturbance are taken to court. There is a dynamic underground Gay Scene, and the police leave them be.