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19-year-old Indian dies by suicide after homophobic abuse

19-year-old Indian dies by suicide after homophobic abuse

Avinshu Patel died in the Indian city of Chennai last week. (Photo: Facebook)

A 19-year-old man in the Indian city of Chennai died by suicide last Wednesday (3 July).

The day before, Avinshu Patel, known as Avi, wrote a Facebook post detailing homophobic abuse he suffered.

‘Everyone knows I’m a boy, but the way I walk, think, feel, talk…it’s like a girl. People living in India don’t like this’ he wrote.

‘Everyone is [sic] hate me for my nature’ he also wrote. He explained how classmates calling him names distracted him from studying at school.

Avi explained it wasn’t his fault he was gay. He apologized to his family. He also urged people not to spread wrong information about him.

India last year decriminalized gay sex. But, most of Indian society does not accept LGBTI citizens.

‘A shock’

Avi worked at a nail salon. When he failed to show up at work on Monday, is managers called his mobile phone.

Police, who have registered a case of drowning, answered the phone and told his employer.

‘He was the brightest trainee in his batch,’ a source at the salon told The News Minute.

‘Because he was so talented, we were giving him advanced training to become a nail artist.

‘He wasn’t facing any problems at work, in fact he was doing very well. It came as a shock’.

Indian LGBTI rights

The Indian Supreme Court in September last year ruled the country’s anti-gay law was unconstitutional.

Section 377 of India’s colonial-era Penal Code punished gay sex with up to 10 years in prison. But, the Supreme Court said it violated rights to privacy.

Indians, therefore, celebrated the decriminalization of an estimated 4.5 million LGBTI people.

Despite last year’s landmark decriminalization, LGBTI people in India face discrimination in nearly all aspects of life.

They are often denied access to housing by the government and the private sector, forcing them to live segregated from society.

They face harassment from landlords, family members, neighbors, and even the police.

In the world of work, employers often discriminate against LGBTI employers during recruitment. LGBTI workers are often dismissed because of their sexuality or gender identity.

India currently does not protect LGBTI people with anti-discrimination legislation.

What’s more, the transgender population has slammed a government bill purported to protect their rights.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please click on this link of global resources.