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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s Only Openly Gay Prince, Opens His Palace To LGBT Community

  • IWB Post
  •  January 11, 2018

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, the only openly gay prince in India, is aware of the difficulties one faces when one decides to come out, especially in small towns of India where traditions often considered to be above humans. So, he has decided to open the doors of his palace to lesbians, gays, transgenders and other Indians who are shunned by their own families for their sexuality.

“People still face a lot of pressure from their families when they come out, being forced to marry, or thrown out of their homes. They often have nowhere to go, no means to support themselves,” he said.

His decision to be open about his identity wasn’t well accepted by his family either, as his mother publicly disowned him via a newspaper advertisement. Accepting his family’s choice, Gohil became a gay rights’ activist and set up the Lakshya Trust for LGBT people in his home state and has made numerous international appearances till date to support his cause.

And now the 52-year-old prince is establishing a residence for people of the LGBT community in his ancestral palace where he’ll be giving them rooms, providing them with a medical facility and give them English and vocational skills classes, so they become better equipped to find jobs.

“I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?” Gohil said. He is also very hopeful of the Supreme Court’s decision to reconsider the highly debated Section 377.

“Lifting the law will encourage more people to come out and live their lives freely. But it may also mean more people in need of support,” Gohil said.

Gohil’s decision has been appreciated by the LGBT community, as his high profile status already aids them in many ways. “For him to be one of us, the stakes are even higher, so providing this space is a great gesture,” said Harish Iyer, a gay rights activist who hosts a radio show dedicated to LGBT issues.

“We are lucky to have many LGBT-friendly spaces in cities like Mumbai and Delhi. But in smaller towns, there are not so many places, and that is where they are most needed.”

Kudos to the prince for being the source of hope for the LGBT community!

H/T: Huffington Post

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