A gay Indian prince is opening an LGBT centre on the grounds of his family palace, despite his family’s disapproval.
The centre, which will be named Hanumanteshwar 1927, will be based on the grounds of Prince Manvendra’s palace in the Indian state of Gujarat.
“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,” Prince Manvendra told Gay Star News when interviewed about the centre.
The centre will be run in conjunction with charity the Lakshya Trust, founded by the Prince before his coming out in 2006.
The charity works with gay, bisexual and transgender people on a wide range of issues, including social acceptance and health.
When asked about the need for the centre, Prince Manvendra said: “Most in India are forced to be in the closet due to stigma and discrimination faced by them on coming out.
“That’s why it’s important for them to be in a place where they feel safe, secure and accepted.”
“This centre will give them the independence to do all those things which they are unable to do living a double life in the society,” he added.
Prince Manvendra also spoke about how coming out has changed his life, despite the backlash from his family.
The prince came out in 2006 and had his family inheritance rights removed by the rest of the Royal family in Gujarat.
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He spoke about coming out on the international stage in 2007, giving a heartfelt interview on the Oprah Winfrey show.
The Prince said:”Before coming out, I was living a double life and a life of lie and falsehood which threatened my mental health condition to succumb to a nervous breakdown.
“After coming out my life has become transparent, honest and with a sense of relief and with the freedom to do what I am without fear.”
He continued: “My mental health condition has also improved since I always wanted to live a truthful life.”
Lakshya Trust is fundraising for the centre, which hopes to open next year.
Last year, Prince Manvendra recorded a moving video about coming out when his country still criminalises gay sex.