Section of the Indian Penal Code prohibits homosexuality, calling it against the order of nature, and identifies it as a part of unnatural sexual activities. In a nation where you could be punished for going against the society and following the sexuality that rules your desires, some people are constantly striving for a positive change. Manvendra Singh Gohil, known as world's first openly gay prince, is not only upholding equal rights for the LGBTQ community, but has also turned his lavish palace to a centre for his community, for those under immense pressure, disowned or forced to flee under circumstances.
Like majority of Indian families, Gohli's family too thought some kind of 'abnormality' had crept in, and a marriage would just make it fine. Abiding by his parents' wish, he married a woman of their choice in 1991. But the marriage just added to his misery.
“It was a total disaster — the marriage never got consummated. I realized I had done something very wrong. Now two people were suffering instead of one. Far from becoming normal, my life was more miserable," He said on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
In 1992, the couple got divorced. In 2002, he had a massive emotional breakdown. After years of emotional turmoil and suppressing his true self, in 2006, he came out to a local newspaper. The society is not just rigid to not someone make his own choices, but reacts violently when a public figure disappoints their and hurts their notion. Gohli's mother, who was aware of her son's sexuality, was too ashamed to accept him. Also, Gohli came from a royal background, and enjoyed deep respect from the common people. His coming out, however, resulted in powerful backlash. His effigies were burnt and people would ridicule his story.
Even the rich, the affluent ones and the ones in power can not escape moral policing, judgments and regression. How miserably the laymen must be living then? Looking at his own life, Gohli realised what the LGBT community goes through.
“My decision to convert my royal establishment into an LGBTQA community center came up from my own life’s experience when I was disowned by family. This is precisely what happens to any other LGBT person in India. 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 BBC.
The palace, in near future, will be equipped with solar power, medical facilities and organic farming.
We convey deepest respect to this brave man for being a vehicle for a much needed change!Read More