India's gay prince Manvendra Singh opens his palace to LGBT people
Gay Indian prince Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, the probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat, has opened up his 15-acre palace grounds to vulnerable LGBT community members and is said to be constructing more buildings to house visitors. The Lakshya Trust run by the prince has taken this initiative. Currently, Prince Manvendra is a consultant at AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Prince Manvendra is building more structures to accommodate more potential guests in the four-bedroom palace built by his ancestor in 1927.
Ostracised by his family after coming out publically in 2006, Prince Manvendra started the community-based organisation to support gay men and educate people about the prevention of HIV/Aids.
Lakshya is a community-based organization registered as a public charitable trust that has been the centre of excellence in the field of sexual health programme for the community since its inception in 2000. The organization strives to achieve sexual tolerance, gender equity and help the community members to empower themselves and mainstream them in the society.
The organization works on various issues addressing and advocating the social, economic, legal, psychological, spiritual and health aspects of sexual minorities (Gay, Bisexual and Transgender population) in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Lakshya primarily works on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention among MSM (men having sex with men) and GBT(gay, bisexual and transgender) in three major cities of Gujarat State of India (Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot).
Speaking to the International Business Times, the prince said he was keen to empower people with the social security system they need to ensure they are left with nothing if their families disown them after coming out.
"If I could undergo these problems then any other gay person could face a similar situation," he said.
"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."