THE KING'S SPEECH
Anjhula Singh Bais | June 08, 2011
Happening times in a different sense was the jist one felt when they walked into the Madison Avenue venue last week in New York City. Yuvraj Mavendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipila, Gujarat hosted the first HIV/AIDS, 1st Annual NYC Beneﬁt of Lakshya Trust. A royal with a flair for the different, Mavendra is past the polo and hunting and instead is open to receiving the accolades coming in world over for his fight for awareness and rights of Gay men in India. Touted as India's first openly gay royal, Mavendra has faced everything from the inevitable disowning by his family to effigies being burnt by his subjects who could not understand something as "perverse" as homosexuality. People treating it as a disease has largely fueled Mavendra's desire to eradicate the naiveté of the general masses. He has done this through a multi-thronged approach involving community-outreach, testing, counseling, education, treatment (free clinics), and condom distribution. The Lakshya Trust has become one of the most powerful forces in the ﬁght against HIV/AIDS. Their community outreach operation registered 19,000 men, and in 2006 Lakshya won the UNAIDS Civil Society Award from the United Nations - which was presented to Yuvraj Mavendra by Ashok Alexander, the former India chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Besides the passion for humanitarian activism, Mavendra in his genteel and gracious manner explained his entrepreneurial side where he has joined forces with DEOS Live, producing a custom-designed set of red headphones with the Rajpipila crest that beneﬁts the Lakshya Trust with a generous donation of 25% of every sale. As a fellow Rajput, we had meet each other at Khamagani (Hello) and sat and spoke about Oprah's planned visit to the palace in 2011 where she plans to film an episode for her new channel OWN in no small part to Mavendra being hugely responsible for the Indian High Court Decriminalizing homosexuality two years ago. This means India is two years into their gay rights movement, which if 10% of their population being GLBT (statistical evidence states this number), it effects more than 100 million GLBT people in India. $1 USD provides care for 1 person for 2 months provided by the Lakshya Trust Organization. Trough crowd support that was a mixture of admiration and awe as if one were staring at a Madam Tussad's wax statue of absolute regal splendour, the Yuvraj will manage to continue his mark in this decade.
Spotted at the parade were: Vanity Fair Magazine, designer Kenneth Cole, Entrepreneur and Music Industry Mogul Russell Simmons, NBA Hall of fame player Isiah Thomas, Exclusively.In co-founder Anuradha Duggal, singer Dallas Dubois, DJ's Zeke Thomas and other philanthropy leaders and celebrity supporters of Prince Mavendra's Lakshya Trust.