Dialling the number of his friend, Avinshu Patel tells him that he no longer wants to live and wants to end his life. He starts crying. Disconnects the call. Avinshu then uploads a post on facebook expressing his feelings.
The next day, the dead body of a 20-year-old youth is found on Neelangarai beach in Chennai. It is suspected that the boy has committed suicide by consuming poison, falling prey to continuous bullying.
Avinshu Patel, a talented young individual with dreams in his eyes was subjected to bullying, harassment and criticized for having effeminate traits. For being gay.
This is what his post read:
“Everyone is aware that I am a boy. But I have some qualities that are usually found in girls. I talk, walk and think like a girl. People in India do not like a boy of this kind. Please do not hold my family responsible for this. I love my parents and my sister. Help them. We are poor. I am thankful to them for supporting me. It is not my fault that I was born a gay”
Avinshu Patel, a Mumbai boy had travelled to Chennai for three weeks for a job. He worked there in a salon. Unfortunately, before Avinshu could begin shaping his life, he chose to end it.
Incidents like these are utterly disheartening. In spite of section 377 being decriminalised, it seems to be a little difficult for Indian society to completely accept and respect every individual’s sexuality.
Such bullying and harassment of those belonging to the LGBTQ community have now also shifted online. Many individuals report cyberbullying. This is equally disturbing and torturing as facing bullying in the real world.
In a recent survey report, 42% of the LGBTQ members have been a victim of this virtual harassment and the numbers of the incident have swiftly been rising of cases of being mocked, robbed or extortion of money via online dating apps. LGBTQ has been one of the easiest targets for the predators’ reason being people living under the shell or a discreet gay life.
Recognising this and deciding to act on this, Blued, the largest gay dating social media app, has launched India’s first anti-cyberbullying campaign for the LGTBQ Community.
This campaign aims at bringing to the attention of people the unfortunate experiences faced by gay men on social and dating apps & how difficult and challenging it becomes when there exists a lack of support and fear of being blackmailed over one’s sexuality. This campaign aims to raise awareness within the LGBTQ community in India by providing them with helpline numbers in case someone faces bullying, blackmailing and extortion while using dating apps.
Blued has launched this campaign so that it’s users can feel safe while providing their information and also develop trust in them for the app. It has also provided helpline numbers who are always going to be there during the hour of need. Anyone who would be interested in reaching out to the experts can dial the 24×7 helplines: +91.97.4554.5559 & +91.60.0903.2883
It is the first-ever gay anti-cyberbullying campaign, Blued has provided a safe platform for the members of the community to speak up and seek help.
Although we keep hearing about the negative incidents that the LGBTQ members face, let’s not overlook the positives. In an attempt to encourage every individual belonging to the community, many private bodies and NGO have taken progressive steps towards their upliftment. Just like the Blued launched the above mentioned campaign, a striking example of another positive initiative would be the one undertaken by the Pride Circle, a community of people working, impacting, supporting in the space of LGBT+ inclusion at the workplace, who very recently organised RISE (Re-imagining Inclusion for Social Equity), a job fair that aims at providing and creating jobs for the LGBTQ community.
If we at individual level learn to accept and respect each individual’s life irrespective of caste, religion, and gender, we will end up making our society a much better and happy place to not just live but also co-exist.