“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.” That’s one of the lines from the long Facebook post note that Avi Patel wrote before committing suicide.
In India, we may be having laws for LGBTQI Rights, we may have pride marches and all but the hatred and toxicity that lies engraved in the heart of Indians against the LGBTQ community isn’t easy to erase.
The 20-year-old was from a humble household in Maharashtra and was working as a trainee Nail Artist in Chennai. On July 2 He wrote two Facebook posts and both were about his struggles and the bullying he had to face due to his sexuality. His posts were full of love and prayers about his loved ones and he was constantly asking for forgiveness of his parents.
He wrote something like this (Language has been rephrased with Grammar): “Don’t blame my company, or my parents, blame God, he made me this way, I am ending this life so that in next life I can become the perfect guy or perfect girl. In India people don’t like the way I talk, I walk. I’m sorry for my bad English, my school teacher tried to teach me well but I could not concentrate because I was stressed about the way I felt and how others disliked me”
Avi’s friend from Mumbai recalls: “Avi called me around 5 pm on July 2, We hadn’t spoken for about a month since we had a fight, but he suddenly called me. He was very out of sorts, and he told me he was going to kill himself. I tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t listen. I then called up his colleagues and friends in Chennai and asked them to track him down.”
Avi Patel had a few close colleagues at Bounce Express Salon and Spa who tried to call him but he did not pick up. By 10 pm, he had switched his phone off and was not traceable. His body was recovered by the Police from the Neelankarai beach, the next morning. The salon then helped his family travel to Chennai, take his body back to Mumbai, and paid for their expenses.
Avi even thanked the auto driver who dropped him at the beach in the Facebook post saying “Thank you for dropping me at the beach”.
He was bullied, he was stressed and had no one around who could understand him. Such is the stress and depression that so many of us go through every single day and yet have to keep smiling because we can not see our loved ones sad. But there comes a time when things become unbearable. We as human beings need to understand that the people of LGBTQI communities are also humans made of flesh and bones just like us. They too have feelings, maybe different than ours but those feelings are pure and not harmful. The hatred that we feel against them shouldn’t exist in the first place, why hate a harmless human being? We will keep losing Good souls like this if we don’t change our mindset.
The way this mother lost her child is sad, but what’s sadder is that no news channel or media house even bothered to look into the matter, forget about articles and news flashes. Who was Avi Patel? Just a guy who wished to fit in as a perfect girl or perfect guy in the next life. If there is an afterlife, I would suggest him to be there, this cruel world isn’t suitable for good souls like you.
As per UNESCO, bullying is very common in almost every part of the world, but it is more violent and cruel in cases where the victim is from the LGBTQI community. In schools and colleges, this type of bullying is very widespread and most ignored. And this happens due to lack of morality and proper education about the issue. The victims are the people whose gender expression does not fit into binary gender norms, such as boys perceived as effeminate and girls perceived as masculine.
Mr. Cornu said “Schools and other educational settings are places for personal and collective development, places for building inclusive communities and sustainable societies. That is why it is so critical for the education sector to promote respect for and understanding of all learners, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression”.
As a solution what we can do is we can learn and teach others about the comprehensive response to homophobic and transphobic violence in place, countries can contribute to the provision of a better and safer educational experience for all.
If you are feeling suicidal or depressed, please share it with people. Please do not bottle up your emotions, share them. If you have no one, you can always use a helping hand from various social welfare groups and NGOs like the ones mentioned below: