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16 Oct 2009

Gay prince sets up India's first old age home for gay men and women

The project - which is possibly the first in Asia - hopes to accommodate 50 elderly gay men and women by the end of the year.


Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla who made the world headlines after coming out as gay in 2006 has set up India's first old age home for gay men and women.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007. He is the only male heir to the 650-year-old Rajpipla dynasty.

The scion of the Rajpipla royal family from Gujarat appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show in an episode in her “Gay around the world” episode in 2007. He was disowned after coming out as gay in 2006 but has since reconciled with his family, and is the only known person of royal lineage in modern India to have publicly revealed he is gay.

The project is developed by the prince through the auspices of Lakshya Trust, a community-based organisation he founded to provide support and promote HIV/AIDS prevention among men who have sex with men (MSMs). The organisation runs three centres where men can go to get information and counseling services.

"The heterosexual world doesn't understand our issues that well as yet because of existing stigma and discrimination in our society," the 44-year-old prince said in a television interview.

The home is slated to open at the end of this year and will also house HIV+ patients.




Reader's Comments

1. 2009-10-16 18:27  
2. 2009-10-16 20:11  
i have always wanted to do a similar retirement village for our local community...anyone keen to pull resources? before you know, our time will come....
3. 2009-10-16 23:45  
Wow! I really do admire this guy! Kudos!
4. 2009-10-16 23:46  
And glad to hear he has since reconciled with his family! =)
5. 2009-10-17 00:34  
The idea is out of this world & sweet! I should perhaps move there for my retirement! =P
6. 2009-10-17 04:31  
Good to hear others on this. I believe there was a sudy done by government here on the need for similar facilities.
Nothing done to date, but I have a location and am seriously pursuing. Interested in anyone with data and concepts.

7. 2009-10-17 08:16  
He is absolutely articulate and precious.
I loved what he said about the mother disowning him but she never did own him to begin him.
8. 2009-10-17 23:58  
Eloquent, selfless, inspirational. This guy’s no prince, he’s an awesome human being!
9. 2009-10-18 01:15  
inspirational.. paving way for others to be proud of who they are.
10. 2009-10-18 09:28  
Great idea; do they take advance bookings?
Comment #11 was deleted by its author on 2009-10-18 11:50
12. 2009-10-18 11:55  
They might consider advance bookings. But, as they say, they've been getting lots of enquiries and, also, the place is not very big at the moment, with just 50 rooms, of which 25 are meant for the HIV infected. I guess they'll be adding more rooms later.
Be aware that the people of Gujarat are largely vegetarian.
13. 2009-10-19 09:59  
I wish more influential and well-to-do gays in the world would do this. There are so many well-to-do ones and some of them choose to squander their money away.
14. 2009-10-19 09:59  
I wish more influential and well-to-do gays in the world would do this. There are so many well-to-do ones and some of them choose to squander their money away.
15. 2009-10-19 11:29  
The Prince mentioned that he reached a saturated point in experiencing wealth and even if he's cut out off the luxuries, it okay.. WOW.. not only am I impressed with him coming out in India even though he is a Prince, he's seem like such a level headed person..

Long live the FUTURE King :)
16. 2009-10-20 08:54  
Studies on aging have been based on hetero-normative perspective and definitely needed for LGBTs.

Great idea to pool resources to see to the needs of the community. In a youth obsessed culture, aging among LGBTs may be seen in a more negative light without proper support.
17. 2009-10-21 10:18  
truly admirable man indeed. takes great courage for a prince to do that I can imagine. great indian song in "the tale of an indian prince" clip. anyone knows the title?
18. 2009-10-21 12:47  
Such an Inspiration. If this Prince can be publicly comfortable about his sexuality in the eyes of his own royal family and a culture which is explicitly homophobic, then I too can be free and comfortable with who I am without living in fear. Thankyou so much for fighting for our cause
Prince Manvendra Singh
19. 2009-10-21 13:24  
Good for him. Friends and I have discussed the need for a seniors home(s) in Canada for gay men and women. Why not? We are such a liberal country, it should have been done years ago. Senior gays require being with the same folk and not slammed back into a closet because the years have caught up. I wish the prince well on his endeavour.
20. 2009-10-22 19:08  
I'm keen to pool resourses to set up a similar one in Singapore :)
21. 2009-10-22 22:12  
I have been involved in the training of healthcare workers for nursing homes in the UK for more than 5 years and I am interested to get involve in the setting up of care homes for gay men and women. I am a qualified trainer and familiar with the UK care standards. Please contact me if anybody needs resources or other information.

my personal email is: anthonycsj@yahoo.co.uk
22. 2009-10-22 22:32  
What this Prince has done is indirectly saving a lot of lives. When gay are old, they are likely to be rejected, feeling lonely, no understanding friend, no where to turn to, force back into closet, finally will feel meaningless in live.

There are already a lot of old gays around, and we do not encounter many of them in gay place-of-interest. Where are they?

It is encouraging to see some interest to set-up similar home for old gays. Hope some capable persons can carry this out for kindness.
23. 2009-10-23 01:54  
24. 2009-10-23 07:31  
wow, i love him and his modest upbringing. yes his idea was quite novel.

but i am just worried that there may be some gay haters in his country who will try to destroy his dream of building a home for old gays and lesbians. he just needs to take security issues into account. good luck.
25. 2009-10-23 11:09  
A turly admirable and honest man who acts upon his heart and soul instead of status and power. Such honable man to risks his chances of succeeding wealth and monarchy to realizes his believes and helping fellow gay men and women. Hey, aj from high socities, this is a real man of respect whom straights call queer.
26. 2009-10-23 13:41  
proudly to be a good gay prince
;P where the lesbian princess
27. 2009-10-27 03:50  
Long may you live and prosper Prince Mavendra Singh. What courage and compassion to come out and help those who are most in need. You will forever be a great source of inspiration to me and many others in a world full of homophobic people.
28. 2009-10-29 23:36  
I agree with the poster above me: courage & compassion- the very traits of bona-fide aristrocracy. He is indeed a Prince by blood. :-)
29. 2009-10-30 10:08  
I'm so touched by his honourable act of kindness. Yeah, you r so right #28, he is a true prince by blood, and soul too.
30. 2009-11-02 13:05  
will there be a sauna attached? ha! just kidding well no doubt it will be for those more cashed up individuals will those poor Indians who find no shelter or justice in India's segregated and intolerant dated caste system be in? this so called obsolete 'prince' may have good intentions all power to him but remember India is now a Democratic Republic the old 'aristocracy' has been delegated to the dustbin of his/herstory...as it should be, now he is a private citizen and should renounce his ridiculous and obsolete title
Comment edited on 2009-11-02 13:14:10
31. 2009-11-02 21:17  
Well my dear aztlan_oz #30, why don't you ask the prince himself, instead of making presumptions? For someone from the honorable working class, you seem to have more pride & presumption than the ridiculous, obsolete aristocracy & Indian caste system, no?
32. 2009-11-08 21:12  
It is a courageous act for a prince to sacrifice crown and power to be his own person. It is an even more courageous act for a fallen prince to be his own person and continue to be charitable to a community that is experiencing discrimination in this day and age.

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