Twelve years after bravely coming out, India's Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil continues to be an inspiration to his nation's beleaguered LGBT community.
Gohil recently opened up his palace to vulnerable LGBTs, with plans to construct more buildings on his 15 acre grounds to house additional people, reports IBT Times UK. Queer people in conservative India often find themselves disowned and lacking resources after coming out.
"In India, we have a family system and we are mentally conditioned to be with our parents," Gahil, disowned by his own parents after coming out, told IBT. "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."
Offering up his home as a refuge means more people can live openly without fear of being disinherited and, in effect, penniless. While change is coming to India — this summer the nation's high court opened the door to LGBT Indians' right to privacy — the nation has a long way to go, as gay sex remains officially illegal and many gay Indians are forced into heterosexual marriages by family members.
"I want to give people social and financial empowerment, so eventually people who want to come out won't be affected," Gohil said. "They will have their own social security system. It won't make a difference if they are disinherited."