There are places in India, where being gay or lesbian is still considered a taboo and such people are shunned from the society. In one such conservative state of Gujarat, an Indian prince—who himself is openly gay—has opened his palace gates for lesbians, gays, transgender and other Indians shunned for their sexuality.
The prince, identified as Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is heir to the throne of Rajpipla in western Gujarat state. He said that he has decided to dedicate his palace space to all these people because he knows what they have to go through in such a conservative society.
“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.
The 52-year-old prince is building a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) on the grounds of his ancestral palace.
“I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?” Gohil said, adding that he will offer rooms, a medical facility and training in English and vocational skills to help people find jobs.
Gohil himself came out to his family more than 10 years ago and the decision was not an easy one. He had to face the backlash of his family and his mother disowned him and even took out an newspaper advertisement to announce the disownment.
After coming out, he set up the Lakshya Trust, which is a trust for LGBT people in his conservative home state.