A 16-year-old queer artist, Pranshu lost their life to suicide after being targeted with homophobic comments

Piyush Singh
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Losing Pranshu prompts reflection on the impact of words in a digital age and emphasizes the urgent need for collective effort to curb online toxicity. 

Despite increased efforts to raise awareness about cyberbullying in India, the issue persists, particularly impacting members of the queer community who continue to struggle for acceptance in society. Recently, the Supreme Court of India's verdict on queer rights was in discussion making us believe that it might be a step taken towards a more accepting society. One of the key highlights of the verdict was, "Queerness is neither urban nore elite", through which it attempts to make people aware of all the discrimation faced by the community. But despite numerous conversations to foster inclusivity, some people remain entrenched in rigid stereotypes. The online space which is often believed to be safe for self-expression has become a battleground for those facing prejudice. With nearly 27,000 followers, Pranshu's account featured makeup and beauty content. The circumstances leading to their death remain unclear as the police are still investigating this matter. However, reports suggest that Pranshu may have been a victim of online harassment. A particular Reel is in question where the teenager wore a saree on Diwali. Allegations of severe online bullying emerged, with the Reel garnering over 4,000 hate comments and most of these hate comments were homophobic in nature. 

In the aftermath of this tragic incident, people on social media openly expressed their profound sadness and anger. This incident is a reminder of the real-world consequences of virtual hate while highlighting the importance of a compassionate and responsible online culture. Many well-known personalities took a stand and addressed this toxic internet culture. Sushant Divgikr wrote, “We are all collectively going to bring forward all these people who think they can anonymously sit behind a screen and a phone and say whatever they want without facing the repercussions ! Spewing the venom they have within them!”  It highlights how easy it is for people to type hateful comments without ever having to think about the consequences.

Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju expressed her anger over the incident. In a social media post, she writes, “How many more queer children do we lose? There was Arvey Malhotra, today there is Pranshu, and tomorrow there will be more. What is the point of creating content, really, if the kids aren’t safe? Neither online nor offline? What has changed?”  Sadly, it is one of the many cases of homophobic hatred and even after witnessing it all, the disheartening disconnect persists among people who fail to comprehend the importance of having these conversations. The persistent ignorance often stems from deeply ingrained prejudices, societal norms, and a lack of empathy.

Patruni Chidananda Sastry shared, “By shedding light on the issue of cyber bullying, we bring attention to the urgent need for a kinder, more inclusive digital world.I urge everyone to be vigilant against hate speech, report abusive behavior, and stand united in our fight against cyber bullying. Let's create a community where love and acceptance prevail over cruelty”  

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People on social media openly expressed their profound sadness and anger over the tragic incident!

For the queer community, the struggle extends beyond virtual platforms. As India grapples with these challenges, it is evident that breaking free from the shackles of stereotypes remains a crucial step towards fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society. But here's what we leave you with - how many queer children need to face this struggle before corrective measures are made against cyberbullying?

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