Queer teen dies by suicide after relentless online attacks

Pranshu

An Indian makeup artist has died by suspected suicide at just 16 after being subjected to relentless attacks online, leading an activist group to call on Meta to crackdown on cyber bullying.

Queer makeup artist, Pranshu, who lived in Divine City, Ujjain, was found dead by his mother on November 21. Police are now investigating, an Indian newspaper reported.

The newspaper wrote that the 16-year-old who was a Class 10 student with thousands of followers on social media, where they showcased their art.

On social media, LGBTQIA+ rights advocacy collective, Yes, We Exist, claimed that the social media star’s death follows them facing “mass bullying on Instagram, for over a week, after a Diwali Reel went viral, in which they wore a saree.

Pranshu’s Instagram account has 14,000 followers and more than 300 posts, with the last being them in a saree on 12 November. 

Yes, We Exist highlighted how the influencer, who was attempting to build a career as a professional makeup artist, received more than 4,000 comments on the reel, many of which were homophobic. 

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It is now calling on Instagram, which is owned by Meta, to invest in its non-English languages and ensure cyber bullying is tackled.  

The demand follows their hashtag #JusticeForPranshu being reportedly blocked by Meta for “violating community guidelines”. 

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“We have ourselves reported queerphobic content several times and most often no action is taken. On the contrary, when people call out bullies, they get penalised by Meta,” Jeet, the founder of Yes, We Exist, told PinkNews. 

They said of the “tragic loss” Pranshu it is a “devastating reminder of the real-world consequences of online bullying”.

“The LGBTQIA+ community in India mourns not only the individual but also the systemic challenges we routinely face.

“The call for greater accountability from platforms like Instagram and from Indian lawmakers who have not prioritised offline and online safety of our community, is urgent to ensure the well-being of young queer individuals like Pranshu.” 

PinkNews has contacted Meta for comment. 

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255. 

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