In 2006, Indian Crown Prince of Rajpipla Manvendra Singh Gohil came out publicly, shattering global news as the world’s first out prince. This news caused his family to disown him because of the humiliation they felt from his public display of self-affirmation.
Since then, Manvendra has used his removal from his family as a means to create change for not only the people of India, but for the LGBTQ community that is so under represented.
Despite his family’s disapproval of his personal life and public agenda, the prince made an announcement recently at the opening of the Delhi International Queer Theatre and Film Festival. He will be opening a support center for LGBTQA people on the royal grounds of his country, India – located in his state of Gujarat. The center will provide economic and social empowerment to sexual minorities and offer skill-based training in preparation for them to get jobs and advance professionally -and ultimately make enough money to survive. The center will cater to all LGBTQA people, focusing on many issues affecting the community, including psychological, spiritual, legal and health issues.
According to No Straight News, Prince Manvendra shared this about the importance of the LGBTQA center to the people of India:
Gradually the gay community is trying not to succumb to the pressure to get married, but once people reveal their sexuality at home, their family members fail to understand and shun them. And since people in India are dependent on parents for financial and emotional needs until late youth, it leaves them with two options – either agree with the parents or be left without resources. I want the community to be independent.
It is important for the LGBT community to go to a place where they can experience the freedom to be who they are even if it’s for a moment. This center will give them the independence to do all those things which they are unable to do living a double life in the society.