By Sharanya Gopinathan
Here’s an awful story that the mainstream media made even worse. On Monday, two lesbian women from Ahmedabad committed suicide along with a three year old child, the daughter of one of the women. Both the women were married to other men. Their suicide note, written on a paper plate and the wall of the riverfront, read, “We are leaving this world which will never allow us to be one’’.
The national media, unfortunately, chose to report on this truly heartbreaking story in a way that completely disregarded the painful socio-legal climate of abject discrimination in which this event took place, and worse still, headlined their coverage in ways that only served to add to the stigma that pushes people to such distressing and extreme steps in the first place.
Our friends at Queerabad have been following this story closely, and perfectly encapsulated on social media just where leading media houses, including the Hindustan Times and Indian Express, went horribly wrong in their reportage. They even suggested some alternate headlines that encapsulate the events neatly and accurately, without exacerbating the situation or contributing to the prejudice that motivates people to take desperate steps like these.
Mumbai-based NGO Aasra runs a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline that you can reach at 91-22-27546669. Aasra says that 10 to 12 percent of the calls they receive are from queer people.
You also don’t have to wait until the situation is so dire to reach out for help. Connect with queer groups in your city for support, help, and the reminder that you’re not alone at any point.
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