It’s a royally daring decision.
Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s openly gay royal, declared he would open his palace doors to vulnerable LGBT people in his home state of Gujarat. Same-sex relations are illegal in India although the country’s high court is currently reviewing this British colonial era law.
“Lifting the law will encourage more people to come out and live their lives freely,” Gohil told Reuters. “But it may also mean more people in need of support.”
That’s why Gohil, 52, is building a LGBT center in his ancestral home of Rajpipla in western India. The Prince came out in 2006 and was disinherited by his parents.
“In India we have a family system and we are mentally conditioned to be with our parents,” Gohil told the International Business Times. “The moment you try to come out you are told will be thrown out and society will try to boycott you. You become a social outcast. A lot of people are financially dependent on their parents.”
Gohil said he will construct temporary housing on his 15-acre palace grounds to provide shelter to LGBT people suffering from homelessness, disease and poverty.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch is demanding India modernize its laws concerning LGBT people.
“India’s political leaders too can learn to overcome the ignorance of those who discriminate and humiliate, and to provide leadership in diversity and inclusion. For India it is certainly time to stop criminalizing love,” wrote Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch South Asia Director.