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    • By GachiMuchi
      In India, a Gay Prince’s Coming Out Earns Accolades, and Enemies
      Prince Manvendra’s journey from an excruciatingly lonely child to a global L.G.B.T.Q. advocate included death threats and disinheritance.
      Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil outside his home in Gujarat, India, this month.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times By Shalini Venugopal Bhagat
      Published July 31, 2020Updated Aug. 1, 2020   NEW DELHI — Born into a royal family that once ruled the kingdom of Rajpipla in India, he was raised in the family’s palaces and mansions and was being groomed to take over a dynasty that goes back 600 years.
      But then he gave an interview that prompted his mother to disown him and set off protests in his hometown, where he was burned in effigy.
      Since coming out as gay in that 2006 interview, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil has faced a torrent of bullying and threats, and was disinherited by his family for a period.
      But he has also earned global accolades for his L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy, becoming one of the few gay-rights activists in the world with such royal ties.
        As part of his efforts, Prince Manvendra, 55, has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” three times, swapped life stories with Kris Jenner on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and is working to establish a shelter for L.G.B.T.Q. people on his property in the Indian state of Gujarat. He is also working with several aid agencies to prevent the spread of H.I.V. among gay men.
      Prince Manvendra and his husband, deAndre Richardson, have spent the last few months in lockdown getting the shelter ready. They envision a safe space where those who have been disowned by their families can get back on their feet and learn job skills.
        “I know how important it is to have a safe space after coming out,” the prince said.
      Although India abolished the princely order in 1971, the honorary titles are still commonly used for royal descendants, and traditional responsibilities are still carried out.
                    Prince Manvendra at the Amsterdam Gay Pride festival in 2018.Credit...Shutterstock When the prince shared that he was gay in that front-page newspaper interview 14 years ago, it created a storm of mostly negative publicity. It was shocking for a member of an Indian royal family, especially one from the rigidly conservative Rajput warrior clan that once ruled over large parts of northern and central India, to come out so publicly. Being gay was a criminal offense in India under the archaic British law in effect at the time. The law was struck down in 2018.
        The fallout from his announcement was brutal, beginning with protests in his hometown, Rajpipla, where he was burned in effigy. His mother took out a newspaper advertisement to announce she was disowning him.
      The government offered him security after he received several death threats, but he turned down the offer and refused to back down. “I decided that I would continue fighting because I have truth on my side,” he said.
        Prince Manvendra playing the harmonium for his husband, deAndre Richardson.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times Prince Manvendra was born in 1965 to Raghubir Singh Gohil, the current honorary maharajah of Rajpipla, and Rukmani Devi Gohil, the daughter of the former maharajah of Jaisalmer.
      By that time, the era of fabulously rich Indian maharajahs had already waned. His great-grandfather’s ostentatious display of wealth, with stables of racehorses and garages filled with Rolls-Royces (nearly a dozen), was no longer welcome in a newly independent India where socialism, austerity and self-sufficiency were the new mantras.
      Although Prince Manvendra’s family no longer ruled a kingdom, the old ways still largely prevailed. He spent most of his childhood in his family’s seven-bedroom mansion in Mumbai, staffed by servants who had worked for the family for generations. He barely saw his parents and was raised primarily by the same nanny who had raised his mother.
      “Until I was 9 or 10, I thought my nanny was my mother,” he said. “I didn’t realize that the glamorous woman who appeared once in a while was actually my mother.”
          The lack of parental love still wounds him. “Why do parents give birth to children if they don’t want to take care of them?” he said.
      His childhood was excruciatingly lonely. His only friends were the birds and other animals he rescued as a young child. “I grew up with literally no friends, because I knew I couldn’t invite anyone home,” he said, because he was allowed to socialize only with children from a similar background.
        The prince at 2. He said his only friends as a young child were the birds and other animals he rescued. He earned a college degree in commerce and accounting and went on to complete law school, although he has never practiced law.
      In 1991, he married Chandrika Kumari, a princess from the royal family of Jhabua, a match entered into voluntarily, he emphasized.
      “I was attracted to men but I thought it was just a passing phase,” he said. “I had never been allowed to spend time alone with a girl, and sex before marriage was out of the question.”
      Being gay was not a possibility that ever crossed his mind, he said, because he knew nothing about it.
        “Once we got married, it became clear to me that I wasn’t interested in women sexually,” he said. “We were very good friends, we got along very well, but there was no sexual attraction.”
      The couple called it quits 15 months later, a split that caused an uproar in royal circles. After the divorce, he said, he was wracked with guilt and confused about his sexuality. He moved back to Mumbai, a 26-year-old divorced virgin, and started exploring his sexuality for the first time.
      “I started reading books and magazines. I saw an article about Ashok Row Kavi and his gay magazine Bombay Dost. I decided to get in touch with him and ask him if I could possibly be gay,” he recalled.
      Mr. Kavi is a father of India’s gay-rights movement. In 1977, he came out publicly and went on to found Bombay Dost, India’s first gay magazine, in 1990. He founded the Humsafar Trust, the first group to provide health services and advocacy for gay men, in 1994.
      Mr. Kavi introduced Prince Manvendra to other people in the community and trained him as a counselor. He remembers the young prince as a painfully shy introvert, who was slowly starting to become comfortable with his identity. He said the prince quietly funded the first telephone help line for gay people in India.
      In 2000, with Mr. Kavi’s encouragement, the prince started the Lakshya Trust in Gujarat to help the gay community there.
        The young prince with his parents, Raghubir Singh Gohil and Rukmani Devi Gohil, and his sister Minaxi in Rajpipla, India, in 1976. The work was fulfilling, but as a closeted gay man, the prince said, it became increasingly difficult to do the advocacy work needed for Lakshya. And there was growing pressure to remarry.
        After he suffered a nervous breakdown in 2002, his psychiatrist convinced him the first step in his recovery was to come out to his parents.
      It was the beginning of a long and bitter ordeal. “My parents were in an absolute state of denial,” Prince Manvendra said. “They declared that science must have a cure for my condition, a surgery perhaps or shock therapy to cure my ‘disease.’”
      But every doctor his parents consulted told them the same thing — homosexuality was not a disease or a mental disorder. His parents finally gave up on medical science and decided to try religion instead. For three years, they took him to dozens of religious leaders around the country.
      “Ashok told me to cooperate with them completely,” the prince said. “To let them be satisfied that they’d tried their best.”
      There were financial consequences to his coming out. He says that he was removed from several family businesses and that his mother threatened to persuade the government to cancel funding for the Lakshya Trust.
      “I finally reached a point in my life where I couldn’t take it anymore,” he said. “I decided to tell the whole world.”
        The couple at home.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times Over the past 14 years, the once-shy royal has grown accustomed to the spotlight and become a vocal activist for the gay rights movement. Apart from his work with the Lakshya Trust, he is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health and is an ambassador consultant of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
      “He was living a very troubled life, under a lot of pressure,” said Chirantana Bhatt, a close friend. “But now it’s a life of pride, in the true sense.”
      He has also found love. In 2013, he married Mr. Richardson, an American he met online in 2009, in the United States. The couple live on an estate in Gujarat given to the prince by his father. His modest brick house there is a far cry from the opulent palace of his ancestors, but he says he could not be happier.
      His father, the maharajah, acknowledged in an interview that it was difficult for the family to come to terms with his son’s sexuality and the constant media attention on the family.
      “But it’s his decision,” the maharajah said.
      His relationship with his mother remains frosty, but other members of the family have been supportive, he says. His grandmother, on her deathbed, expressed her happiness that he had found a partner to share his life with.
      Prince Manvendra is cautiously optimistic about the future. He is not sure if he will become the next honorary maharajah of Rajpipla. “I have left it to my family members,” he said. “I would prefer to keep working for my cause because the role of maharajah comes with a lot of responsibilities and duties that would divert me from my activism.”
        Prince Manvendra in front of the remains of his royal palace on the banks of Narmada in Gujarat.Credit...Atul Loke for The New York Times  
    • By Otenji
      Seeking Married Man who is free now. Dont mind to let me practise on my massage. Can host now till 1230pm. Pls Pm if keen. Thanks
       
    • By Earthman
      chi chub 168 85kg 46  bangsar kl looking for lite fun , can host ,interested pm
    • Guest John
      By Guest John
      Any Gay I.T person around ? 

      My Acer Desktop been giving me error message everytime I start my PC 
       
      Setup Setting error CMOS checksum error or CMOS battery loss occurs 
       
      Any help ?? 
    • By GachiMuchi
      Queer And Over 55: Older LGBTQ+ Singaporeans On Coming Out, Finding Love, and Making Their Lives Here
       
      A year ago, while conducting interviews for a series on LGBTQ+ Singaporeans, a question kept churning in my mind: where are all the older people?
      Ageism exists across society, and is in no way limited to the LGBTQ+ community. But combined, the two produce a startling vacuum. Older LGTQ+ people are a minority within a minority, which is to say they are practically invisible. Even most of my LGBTQ+ friends, when asked to help me find leads I could interview, couldn’t come up with a single name they knew personally.
      Older people’s stories generally don’t get a lot of screen time, but the ones that do are more or less exclusively heterosexual. Representations of contemporary queer life, from films like Blue Is The Warmest Colour to TV shows like Orange Is The New Black and Queer Eye, largely show people in their 20s and 30s. And the Internet, which has been instrumental in increasing LGBTQ+ visibility, with many brave coming-out stories and personal essays about LGBTQ+ lived experiences, is unquestionably the domain of the young.
      But clearly, not all queer people are young, and not all queer stories are, either. We spoke with three LGBTQ+ Singaporeans in their mid-50s and above, who graciously shared theirs with us.
      Ivan Heng, founding artistic director of the WILD RICE theatre company, and his husband, Tony Trickett, the company’s executive director. The couple were married in the UK in 2014. Image credit: Ivan Heng’s Facebook/WILD RICE Jeremy*, a cisgender gay man in his early 60s
      I guess you could say my very first exposure to queer culture was when I went to the Philippines in 1981. You know how Singapore is, it’s not touchy-feely, we don’t hug, no way two men would be hugging or kissing each other. 
      I was 21 at the time, and when I got there I was like, is everyone gay here? To see men holding hands, hugging … it wasn’t that they were gay, their culture is just so warm and physically affectionate, but it seemed that way to me. I found the lack of labels so liberating, to see how they were so intimate and yet it was a non-issue.
      Growing up, there were no examples of gay relationships at all. At the time, ‘gay’ just wasn’t in our vocabulary, it didn’t exist back then like it does now. When I was young, it used to mean happy, bright, bonny, good.
      I grew up poor, in a traditional Peranakan household, and culturally I was in a desert. A lot of my education came from a dear friend of mine, my mentor in life, and in gay life in particular. 
      We used to watch videos at his house, and one of the ones which left an impression on me was Making Love (1982). It’s about a couple where the husband falls for another man and embarks on an affair. What really struck me was that the wife found out in the end, and they had a huge fight and she slapped him across the face—she goes, “I can fight with another woman, but how could I fight with a man? How could I compare?” 
      [The film ends happily], but watching this scene, I was like, oh god. Is this how it is? Most films about gay people are terribly depressing. It never ends well.
      As a gay boy back then—and even now, I think—when you’re young, a lot of it is about sex and getting off. When you don’t have mentors to look up to, or examples of healthy, mature, gay relationships, you just think it’s all based on sex and will never last. I’m not sure this has changed much now, although hopefully it’s a bit better. Still, examples of gay men in solid relationships are so invisible. 
      Acceptance can only come when there’s deep and abiding love. Everyone just wants to be treated with respect and love, and that only comes with honesty. If you’re not honest with yourself, there’s no relationship which can be sustained.
      I’m not out to my family, but only because they’ve not asked the question. Otherwise, it’s an open secret. My siblings have met my partners over the years, and I guess they just accepted it. My mum has passed on, but when she was alive she knew all my boyfriends’ names … she would go, oh, so-and-so isn’t staying with you any more? Are you not friends any more? I think they’re just waiting for me to come out to them, and I’m waiting for them to ask.
      Right now, I have everything I need. I’m in a happy relationship, I have my own flat, my dogs, and I don’t want children. The one thing I would want to change is end-of-life rights. Otherwise, my sexuality is right at the bottom of my interactions with people. It doesn’t present any issues now.
      My partner loves Pink Dot. He’s much younger than me, and he goes every year. I go because he loves it so much, but I’ve been through all that, and I don’t need that kind of affirmation or public platform of support at my age. 
      But I’ve been very blessed, with the friends and family I have, and working in arts and entertainment all my life. The scene is so much more exposed and accepting. If I hadn’t, I shudder to think of what my life might have been like.
      Not all stories are happy ones. This message was received by the Pink Dot organising team in 2019. Translated, it reads: “My family is conservative, and my religion sees me as a sinner. On the surface I am happy, but for many decades I have been living in darkness, in an oppressed environment. I have never really dated in the community. I am now 50, and I don’t think there is any more hope, and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel any more. But I still want to wish the best for all the lucky ones at Pink Dot.” Linus*,  a cisgender gay man in his early 60s
      I guess we all had inklings…you know, the dance of hormones, feelings you have as a teenager. So I went to the library in school and looked it up. 
      We had a great library. Lots of texts on sociology and bio, and there was a book called ‘Everything You Want To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask’ (I think one of the very young teachers was heading up the library at the time). Once I identified what I was, internally, it was easy. I didn’t struggle with it, unlike some friends and classmates I knew.
      It was never an issue with my siblings. But my dad didn’t know—he passed away when I was in my 30s—and my mum doesn’t know. I don’t think she even knows what being gay is, and it wouldn’t be possible to explain to her now because she has dementia.
      I never thought of telling her when I was younger. My parents are so steeped in the older concept of what being gay is, she’d probably just assume that it’s someone who cross-dresses and wants to put on women’s clothes. It was never something I thought of attempting.
      When I got older, there were chats on the Internet, stuff that I guess would be the equivalent of Grindr or Tinder nowadays. There were saunas, where men went to have sex with other men. And there were bars and clubs like Inner Circle, Taboo, that you went to … but most of them don’t exist anymore. In any case, the club scene is very much geared towards young people. As you get older, it stops being so enticing. You look like a sad fish out of water.
      I think we were only conscious of the AIDS crisis because so much was happening in America. We read about it in the papers and in books, but I think we in Asia tended to think of HIV as a ‘Western’ disease. It was scary, but by the time we realised this was happening to us, there were already medical discoveries and organisations like Action for Aids (AFA), so there was greater awareness, and anyone sensible knew to take precautions.
      Still, I have some friends, some close ones, who’ve had it, or died from it. Sometimes you hear stories about someone succumbing to pneumonia, and they’re not that old, maybe in their 40s. And you think: could it have been HIV-related?
      It would be a nice victory if 377A was repealed, but I’m not holding my breath. The government will always say that the moral majority is conservative and not open to LGBTQ+ people. Personally, I don’t think there’s an ideal society; my friends and I never thought of going out there and demanding for solutions, because that’s not going to happen.
      In my opinion, what one should do is try and look for a way around things, find a personal solution, or you’ll just be hitting your head against the wall. I happen to know one of the couples who challenged 377A, and they told me that after two or three years of slugging it out in court, they looked at each other and asked if it was really worth it, because they ended up exactly where they started. Looking to the authorities for a solution is a tough sell.
      But I’m hopeful that things will change gradually. When I talk to generations that came after me, young couples in their 20s and 30s, everyone’s so comfortable with it; everyone’s got a token LGBTQ+ friend they’re so fond of. I’m optimistic that way.
      Edie Windsor (R) and her wife, Thea Spyer. Edie was the lead plaintiff in United States v Windsor, a seminal 2013 US case which granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time. Cathy*, a cisgender lesbian woman in her 50s
      Work was lonely. I worked in the corporate world in my 20s and early 30s, and I never saw another gay person. You couldn’t talk about it. Stuff like what you did over the weekend, water-cooler chat … you can’t go into it, and I guess that’s why I always felt like a bit of an outsider. It was never hostile, but you just felt different, and conscious of having to hide in a way which other people didn’t.
      I began working in the charity sector and becoming involved in civil society in my 30s, and that was what changed things for me. Before that, for a long time, my plan was to migrate.
      When I was younger, I would imagine myself on a farm, enjoying the outdoors and seasons …  idealistic things like that. It was only after I got involved in civil society that I began to feel like I was making a difference, and everything changed; it was how I met my partner, too. But I honestly think I would’ve left if I hadn’t found that. 
      Civil society was an interesting place in the early ‘90s. The organisation I joined was a very accepting space. You felt comfortable bringing people and they would treat your partner as a friend, but no one asked about it, or spoke about it the way it is now, even there. You felt the acceptance, but you never introduced anyone as your partner. I didn’t do that until very late in life.
      Right now, I think it’s just a matter of time. I’ve bet with my friends that in 10 years’ time, we’ll be living in a very different society, and 377A will be history. I work with a lot of young people, and it gives me a lot of hope. We’re on the right side of time, and we’re moving towards acceptance. I don’t see how Singapore can keep still.
      Still, I’ve been incredibly lucky. Being a lesbian has been tough at points—perhaps not as much as for other people—but I think it compelled me to find my own way in the world, to make sense of my own life, because the tried-and-tested route just wasn’t available to me at all. Having kids, getting married … that’s never been on the cards. Even moving out, which I did at 22, was so radical at the time. 
      The other thing is the support of my family. My sisters and I are all gay, and we came out to our parents when we were in our early 20s. It was a journey they had to go through, and there were some very difficult years, but that was one of the privileges I’ve had: parents who really, really love me.
      Their friends still aren’t comfortable with it, and I guess that’s the difficulty with society as a whole not moving, even if [my parents] have as individuals. They had to give up some of their friendships, or not see their friends so often, because the comparisons their friends were making or asking about our lives … they just didn’t know how to deal with that, and it was very painful for them. They had to have smaller worlds so that we didn’t have to be in the closet.
      But a few weeks ago, around Mother’s Day, I had a Zoom call with my mum, and she said, this was my best decision. I was like, what was? 
      And she said, accepting all of you. That was the best decision I ever made in my life. It was the first time she’d said that.
       
       
       
       
       
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