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India's first openly gay prince opens up his palace for LGBTQ people

Manvendra Singh Gohil is setting up an LGBTQ centre at the Hanumanteshwar Palace

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 12 January 2018, 5:50 PM
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is doing his bit for his community

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is doing his bit for his community Image: Twitter

Manvendra Singh Gohil — India's first gay royal — is doing something rather groundbreaking for the LGBTQ people. The heir to the throne of Rajpipla in Gujarat is opening up his ancestral palace for the benefit of gay, homosexual, intersex and trans people of the country — a community that still remains disenfranchised in India.

Gohil is building an LGBTQ centre at his Hanumanteshwar Palace in Gujarat, where he will provide rooms, medical assistance, HIV awareness, jobs and even vocational training in English to LGBTQ people. According to reports, the prince will expand his 15-acre ancestral site.

"I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?” Prince Manvendra told Thomson Reuters Foundation. "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," added the 52-year-old prince, who was disowned by his mother Princess Rukmini Devi when he came out of the closet.

Prince Manvendra set up the Lakshya Trust a few years ago, which works closely with the LGBTQ community. He also appeared in the reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians last year, after Kendall Jenner met the prince during her Rajasthan tour, and invited him back to LA.

This has been a tremendous week for the LGBTQ community in India, as the Supreme Court announced that it would rethink its stance on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. "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,” added the prince. 

Read more:

What happened when Kendall Jenner met India's first gay prince, Manvendra Singh Gohil

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