Teen queer makeup artist dies by suicide after flood of homophobic comments
By Ryan General
November 29, 2023
A 16-year-old queer makeup artist from the Indian city of Ujjain took their own life after reportedly facing a barrage of over 4,000 homophobic comments on one of his Instagram posts.
Death of an artist: Priyanshu Yadav, who was known as Pranshu online, was a self-taught makeup artist and student from Madhya Pradesh who mainly posted makeup, skincare and fashion content. They died by suicide on Nov. 21 following relentless online harassment.
The teen, whose Instagram handle @glamitupwithpranshu had over 22,000 followers, was targeted with hate comments in several Instagram posts, including a Diwali video of them wearing a saree.
A mother’s grief: Pranshu’s mother, Preeti Yadav, expressed her grief and frustration in an interview with The Quint, emphasizing the need to address pervasive toxicity online. Urging the public to recognize and appreciate individuality, she highlighted Pranshu’s talent and passion for makeup artistry.
“Why is no attention being paid to the fact that a 16-year-old faced hate comments online for doing something they not only loved but were also good at?” Preeti was quoted saying. “This negativity needs to be checked and curtailed… Every child is unique, and I accepted my child the way they were. I would have always stood by them. I wish they would have given me that chance.”
Condolences: Following Pranshu’s death, condolences poured in from various quarters, with many expressing sorrow and solidarity.
“There is less and less reason to believe we are capable of anything but hatred and war and evil,” a commenter wrote. “You were beautiful, and we all are failing you. Sorry.”
“You looked absolutely gorgeous…” another chimed in. “The people hating in the comments are so ignorant and insecure enough to project them onto you… You deserved better.”
“Deeply saddened! somewhere I feel his soul is genuinely resting in peace which he couldn’t find on earth,” wrote another. “Vitthala give him a nice life next time.”
Hate comments: However, hateful and mocking messages also continued after the late teenager’s passing.
“As a troller, im [sic]very happy, aise or gay chakko ki jaan jana chahiye (People like these and gay individuals should lose their lives), one down guys, many more remaining,” one commented.
“You are born gay, you wanna be a gay or whatever, just keep it to yourself,” another remarked. “Men should be men and women should be women we have forgotten our originality of existence because of all this bullshit.”
“To all the people who support this things [sic] in India: First of all this isn’t US we shouldn’t adapt their culture and secondly If I’m posting some content like this in social media especially Instagram I’d be ready for comments like this!!” wrote another.
Failures of online platforms: The incident has also reignited concerns about the safety of online spaces, particularly for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Online, activists and members of the queer community are calling for stricter policies on social media platforms to combat cyberbullying and ensure the safety of individuals, especially teenagers.
Actor Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, known for the web series “Made In Heaven,” posted about Pranshu’s death and asserted that platforms like Instagram, owned by Meta, inadequately address the issue of cyberbullying and fail to provide a secure environment for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
If you or anyone you know is at risk of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24-hour support at 1-800-273-8255.
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