GANDHINAGAR – Yuvraj Manvendra Singh, the only openly gay prince in India, has converted his Hanumanteshwar Palace into a a resource center for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Community.
Singh, who is likely heir to the throne of Rajpipla in the western state of Gujarat, says the marketable skills of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and homosexual individuals will be honed at his palace in order to make them financially independent.
“People still face a lot of pressure from their families when they come out, being forced to marry, or thrown out of their homes,” Gohil told Reuters.
“They often have nowhere to go, no means to support themselves.”
His endeavour is commendable and we hope more such steps are taken in the society towards the LGBTQ community.
Since coming out, Gohil has made a name for himself as a gay rights advocate, both in India and internationally and created the Lakshya Trust, an organisation focusing on gay issues and sexual health in Gujarat.
After Gohil’s coming out made international headlines in 2006, his mother took out a newspaper advertisement publicly disowning him. People burned his effigies in Rajpipla.
India remains a conservative society, but the visibility of LBGTI Indians has grown in the two decades since the first gay pride parade attracted a few dozen marchers in Kolkata in 1999.
India’s LGBT community is still vying for the removal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalises homosexual relations. The Supreme Court’s recent decision to review the constitutional validity of the section has renewed the community’s hopes for a change.