India’s out gay prince opens up his palace to vulnerable LGBT people
India’s first and only out gay prince has opened up his palace to become a centre for vulnerable LGBT people.
Manvendra Singh Gohil has opened up his 15-acre palace grounds to become a centre for the LGBT community in the country where LGBT people still face persecution.
The palace grounds will be run alongside the Lakshya Trust, which the prince set up shortly after he came out in 2006.
Named Hanumanteshwar 1927, the centre will include a number of new structures to house guests.
The prince told IBTImes: “If I could undergo these problems then any other gay person could face a similar situation.
“In India, we have a family system and we are mentally conditioned to be with our parents. The moment you try to come out you are told you’ll be thrown out and society will boycott you. You become a social outcast. A lot of people are financially dependent on their parents.”
Adding: “I want to give people social and financial empowerment, so eventually people who want to come out won’t be affected. They will have their own social security system. It won’t make a difference if they are disinherited.”
The first out gay prince back in 2015 recorded a moving video about coming out when his country still criminalises gay sex.
Gohil, the prince of Rajpipla, Gujarat, recorded the video with Come Out Loud.
In it, he says that growing up with means, and privilege, actually made it harder to come to terms with his sexual orientation.
The prince says: “When I was around 12 or 13, I realised I wasn’t attracted towards the opposite sex, I was attracted to the same sex. Why is this attraction happening? I wasn’t clear about it because I did not have communication with anyone,” Gohil explained.
“Being brought up with servants and not many friends… no internet… it was a very confusing state.”
Gohil came out internationally in 2007 in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The prince was disowned by his royal family, and had previously been married to a princess.
The prince has since said he wants to remove the stigma attached to people who have same-sex attractions and live in India, as the country’s Supreme Court in 2013 reinstated a ban on gay sex.
“We’re all human beings. We should be treated equally and be given the rights which we have been denied,” Gohil says in the video.
“All we expect from the society is love. Gay rights cannot just be won in the courtroom, but also in the hearts and minds of the people we live with.
Watch the video, via Come Out Loud, below: