We are still in celebration of the decriminalization of Section 377, but the truth stays the same. While the law has perhaps tipped in favour of the LGBTQ+ community, the streets are still the same and under no faze.
And sadly, due to the ever slow change of society, we say goodbye to another of our community.
19-year-old Avinshu Patel committed suicide in Chennai after alleged homophobia. The young boy from Mumbai, Avinshu or Avi, as his friends would call him had just moved from Mumbai to Chennai. He went to Chennai to work around 3 months ago, at a salon.
On July 2nd, Tuesday, he was found dead on Neelangarai Beach. He had published a post on his personal Facebook account that indicates he ended his life because “society did not accept him for being gay”
Thanks u so much guys loved me and hate alsoI'm gay That's way I don't for myself And my family also know I liked…
“Everyone knows I am a boy. But the way I walk, think and talk is like a girl. People in India do not like that,” read the Facebook post. “Please do not blame my family. Help them. We are poor. I love my mom, dad and sister. I thank them for supporting me. It is not my fault that I was born gay”, read the post.
Workspace in Chennai
Avinshu worked at a salon in the city. A senior at the salon where Avi was working says he was a good worker. “He came to Chennai in April and trained in our academy. As he performed well at work, we were giving him advanced training in nail art.”
“July 2 was his day off, but we received a call from his friend in Mumbai saying Avi was in distress. We tried calling him but he did not answer. Next day, when one of our salon managers called, a cop answered and said he was dead,” the salon official continues.
Avinshu was found dead on the beach, close to where he lived.
He was found by the local people. The police then arrived at the scene and shifted his body to the government hospital and informed his parents.
The case was registered as an unnatural death. Police say that Avinshu had called his friend in Mumbai earlier that day at around 5 pm. His friend, Ishaan Mastry said that Avinshu was happy when he spoke earlier in the morning.
“He sent me a text around 2.30 afternoon saying he was at a mall with a friend. They had gone out for lunch. Just two hours later he called me and told me he wanted to end his life. He was crying,” says Mastry.
“Avi told me he had taken poison but did not explain the reason for the drastic decision. He just hung up. I tried calling him back, several times, but there was no answer. At around 9 in the night, he put up that Facebook post, after which his phone was switched off.”
Mastry says Avinshu never said anything before about being bullied or harassed. “I suspect something could have happened in the mall.” Mastry continues, “Avi was a strong boy”. Mastry has known him for around 3 years.
Avi’s father has landed in Chennai to take his son’s body back to Mumbai. “He did not want to register any complaint,” says a senior police officer. “We investigated, but there are no signs of abuse. We are, however, probing the death.”
What did LGBTQ+ activists have to say?
LGBTQ+ activists in the city point out that despite the Supreme Court decriminalising homosexuality in 2018, members of the community still face discrimination.
“Every queer person faces harassment. Section 377 may have been struck down, but it remains a judgment. It has not changed people’s mentality or our everyday lives,” says C Moulee, founder of Queer Chennai Chronicles. “Not many organisations have anti-discrimination policies to provide LGBT+ individuals with safe spaces.”
Source Credits: newindianexpress.com, Indiatoday.in, thequint.com