Being a member of the LGBTQ community in India can be pretty difficult. Not only is it generally frowned upon by the public, same sex relations are even considered illegal. Fortunately, however, these people will be able to have a safe place to call their own in the near future – courtesy of Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla, Gujarat, an openly gay member of Indian royalty.
According to reports, the Prince has laid out plans to open his 15-acre ancestral palace called Hanumanteshwar 1927 to serve as a refuge for LGBTQ people where they will be protected against persecution. The place will likewise offer counselling, medical care, and even vocational and English trainings as needed.
In a Culture Trip report, we read that Gohil “has long been a champion for LGBTQ rights and has actively supported members of the community through his own organization, the Lakshya Trust.”
Furthermore, we learn that he often been vocal about supporting LGBTQ rights in India since he came out in 2016, which was a huge “decision that led to him being disowned by his own family,” the article said.Soon thereafter, the Prince began appearing in numerous events, even guesting in shows such as the Oprah Winfrey Show to campaign for gay rights in and out of the country.
Speaking with Reuters, the Prince shared about his project, saying:
“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. I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?”
And he doesn’t intend on stopping there. Additionally, he also wants to start crowdfunding in order to build more support facilities in the palace.
He also said in a separate interview:
“We are not asking for any special rights. We are not asking for reservations or privileges. We want to be treated like any other human being or any other Indian citizen… We want to be a part of this society, this community and treated equally, and without being subject to stigma and discrimination.”
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