New Delhi,Jul 13: Facing social taboos, homosexuals in the country can now look forward to acceptance in their declining years as a member of their community now plans an old age home for them.
Mr Manvendrasinh Gohil, who runs a NGO, Lakshaya, which works amongst MSM (men having sex with men), has initiated the project on a two acre piece of land, which has been donated by a NRI. "We have sought from the government of Gujarat another 11 acres of waste land in the adjoining area to build the complex," Mr Gohil said. To be built on the banks of Narmada in Gujarat, the old age home will be a joint effort of the Gohils's Lakshya Trust and Narmade Har Sevashram. Mr Gohil, who belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Rajpipla, came out with his homosexuality a couple of years ago.
It caused an uproar in his family. His mother refuses to speak to him, but his father, who initially disowned him, has now accepted his status. He was also married, which ended in a bitter divorce. After his "coming-out", Mr Gohil was also a guest at the Oprah Winfrey show.
''At present, it is a Rs 25 crore project, with an initial accommodation capacity of 50 people. It will be equipped with all facilities including advanced medical unit for aged homosexuals and HIV patients,'' Gohil said.
''We have also planned to build a crematorium for them as we want to ensure that the gays and HIV positive people receive the same honour even after death,'' he said.
''Homosexuality is not a sin but a natural preference of a man or woman. But those who are accepting it are being thrown out of the society. At this time of desertion, especially in old age, money alone can't help such people but they need a kind of support system,'' he said.
Interestingly, this project has got an overwhelming response not only from gays and HIV affected people but also from outsiders.