Every once in a while, design (and humanitarian) miracles do happen. In India this week, for example, the country’s only openly gay prince, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, announced that he would be opening an LGBTQ center on the grounds of his ancestral palace.
“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,” Mohil told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I am not going to have children, so I thought, why not use this space for a good purpose?”
Mohil’s decision is especially important given his cultural context. In India, same-sex relations remain illegal. Homosexuality is largely stigmatized. When Mohil first came out, people burned effigies of him in his home province. The LGBTQ population is further vulnerable to homelessness, and some couples have even fled the country after being threatened with honor killings.
At his center, Mohil plans to offer rooms, HIV education, and medical care, as well as vocational training. To support all of these services, Mohil will renovate and expand his palace in Gujarat in western India, and potentially cultivate some of his land for organic farming.
Change may be slow in Mohil’s province, but at least it’s coming.