With its many benefits, social media also has a dark side to it. While it has given a stage to big and small artists, creators and many more, it has also been a platform for people to openly hate and bully others. Many a time it is the inherent biases of people that come into play while discharging this venom, but sometimes people just spread hate because they can, without realising what the other person might be undergoing. Pranshu, a young teen who was merely 16 year old was subjected to massive online trolling, to the point they took their own life, only because they chose to express themselves.

Pranshu A 16 year old faces online hate and takes their life

The Dynamic Pranshu

The world lost a vibrant young child, Pranshu, a 16 year old from Ujjain, MP, whose life was tragically cut short on November 21. Pranshu, a self-taught makeup artist, and 10th-grade student faced relentless online bullying that culminated in their decision to take their own life. The tipping point came after their Diwali Reel, where Pranshu proudly styled a saree, went viral, drawing a flood of homophobic comments on Instagram.

Harsh Reality

The disturbing incident shed light on the prevalence of online homophobia and its devastating consequences within the LGBTQIA+ community. Pranshu, a young child only decided to document their truth and received over 4000 hateful and homophobic comments on their Diwali Reel alone. Despite their grace and resilience in responding to bullies, the relentless onslaught took its toll.

Tragically, this isn’t an isolated incident. LGBTQIA+ individuals often face disproportionate levels of cyberbullying and harassment, leading to severe mental health struggles. Statistics reveal alarming rates of suicide among LGBTQIA+ youth due to societal pressures and discrimination.

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Alarming Statistics

According to recent studies, LGBTQIA+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. The lack of proper support and understanding exacerbates their vulnerability, often leaving them isolated and without recourse.

Gaurav Sitoula

Previously, another child Gaurav Sitoula from Nepal was mass bullied by thousands of people, only because he expressed himself through his dance and decided to no confine himself to the stereotypes of the society. In a recent video by Anish Bhagat, Gaurav explained with a maturity, lacking by many adults, how he does not get offended by people and will continue to seek what his heart desires.

Sigh! Not everyone has that kind of mental capacity to fight these virtual bullies on a daily basis.

Pranshu’s story echoes a pervasive reality faced by many queer individuals. The digital realm meant to build connections and creativity, has instead become a breeding ground for hate and intolerance. Despite the efforts of many activists, platforms like Instagram have repeatedly failed to protect LGBTQIA+ users, especially children, from targeted harassment.

Support From The Community

Many notable LGBTQIA+ personalities and activists came forward to pay their respects to Pranshu. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, an actor and activist, remembered Pranshu and pointed to the inherent flaws in Instagram’s safety guidelines. 

While investigations into Pranshu’s death continue, the Ujjain Police have yet to find any kind of note. After examining Pranshu’s phone, mass trolling and online hate emerge as the reason behind this tragic step.

Immediate Steps

The loss of 16 year old Pranshu should be an eye-opener for all of us to take immediate and robust measures to protect LGBTQIA+ individuals from online hate and discrimination. It’s a stark reminder that the fight for inclusivity and acceptance is far from over. There needs to be a collective effort to create a world where everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, can live without fear or prejudice.

The Death of 16 year old Pranshu to be an eye opener against online Hate

If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek help. Organisations such as The Trevor Project (for LGBTQIA+ youth) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are some of the organisations one can look towards to offer support and guidance.