India: Gay Indian prince throws open palace doors to vulnerable LGBT people

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The only openly gay prince in India - where same sex relations are illegal - is throwing open his palace doors to lesbians, gays, transgender and other Indians shunned for their sexuality.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, heir apparent to the throne of Rajpipla in western Gujarat state, said it was particularly hard to come out in small-town India, where traditional values hold sway and heterosexual relations are the norm.

“People still face a lot of pressure from their families when they come out, being forced to marry, or thrown out of their homes. They often have nowhere to go, no means to support themselves,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

So the prince, 52, is building a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) on the grounds of his ancestral palace.

“I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?” Gohil said, adding that he will offer rooms, a medical facility and training in English and vocational skills to help people find jobs. Read more via The Thomson Reuters Trust