- The Magazine
LGBTQ Iranians are publicly protesting after a gay man was beheaded by his own family.
Alireza Fazeli-Monfared, 20, was murdered on earlier this month by his brother and two cousins after they discovered his sexuality. Prior to his death, he had been preparing to flee to Turkey to live with his partner.
The men left Fazeli-Monfared’s body against a tree in a village outside the Iranian capital of Borumi, telling his mother that they had “finished him off.” She was later checked into hospital with shock.
Fazeli-Monfared’s murder sent shockwaves through the local and international LGBTQ community. It has been branded an “honor killing” — also known as shame killings — where someone is murdered by family members because they are believed to have brought shame or dishonor upon the family.
In a bold display of protest in a country where people are executed for homosexual acts, two LGBTQ activists took to the streets of Iran to proudly fly Pride flags in response to Fazeli-Monfared’s death.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist, was sent footage of the protest, and shared it to her Twitter.
“Hello Masih. In memory of all victims of violence fighting for their freedom: we exist, we’re humans and we do fall in love,” the activists say in the video. “We’re in Iran now. We’re LGBTQI. We know that we could be arrested, killed, executed for doing this.”
“We exist, and just like many others, have two eyes, feet, hands. We fall in love. Clerics consider us ‘corrupters of the Earth’. State TV censors us. The education system says nothing about us,” they continue. “We exist. We fall in love. We’ve not harmed anyone. We only mind our own business, but they call us ‘corrupters of the Earth’. They make fun of us, or even kill us when they find out about our sexuality.”
They added: “Masih, we exist and we will fight until we’re victorious. Let people see us. We, too, have the right to live and fall in love.”
Alinejad urged others to speak out for LGBTQ people in Iran.
“After the tragic murder of [Alireza Fazeli-Monfared] in Iran by his family for being gay, Iranian LGBTQI+ activists are taking to the streets, secretly filming themselves and sending me videos,” she tweeted. “Be their voice.”
"We're Iranian LGBTQIs, we exist and we fall in love. Let that sink in"
After the tragic murder of #AlirezaFazeliMonfared in Iran by his family for being gay, Iranian LGBTQI+ activists are taking to the streets, secretly filming themselves and sending me videos.
Be their voice pic.twitter.com/mXSNZcXcS4
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) May 12, 2021
After Fazeli-Monfared’s death, Alinejad called out the anti-LGBTQ laws that exist in Iran, and decried Fazeli-Monfared’s murder, saying he had been “brutally killed by his brother & cousins for being gay as part of an honour killing.”
“Through its homophobic laws, anti-gay propaganda, and light sentences for honour killings, the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for facilitating the murder of countless members of the LGBTQ community in Iran,” Alinejad tweeted.
“This community is yearning to be heard by the world…. The world must hear the cries for help of Iran’s LGBTQ community. The Islamic Republic of Iran both directly and indirectly brutalizes them.”
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