Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay royal, recently announced his intention to transform his 15-acre four-bedroom palace into an LGBTQ Center for LGBTQ people and Indian natives disowned by their families for being queer.
The palace, built in 1927, is located in the Rajpipla region of the east Indian state of Gujaratas. Gohil says that he has already started to renovate and expand the palace, installing solar panels for power and developing land for organic farming, and adding extra rooms, a medical facility and a classroom for learning English and training vocational skills for job finding.
Gohil said, “I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?”
In 1991 Gohil married a woman, something he called “a total disaster.” He divorced her in 2002 and was outed with his blessing in 2006. His royal parents famously disowned him after he came out and soon after he established the Lakshya Trust, a LGBTQ charity that does HIV work and is raising funds for his new LGBTQ center.
Gohil told The Independent:
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 will be thrown out and society will boycott you. You become a social outcast. A lot of people are financially dependent on their parents.”
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.
Here’s a video Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil talking to Oprah Winfrey:
Right now in India, the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of a law criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships, LGBTQ people cannot donate blood, so-called “anti-Romeo” vigilante squads publicly hunt same-sex couples for arrest.