LGBT+ people in Iran are taking to the streets and secretly filming themselves wearing Pride flags in protest against the brutal murder of Alireza Fazeli Monfared at the hands of his family.
There was widespread shock and revulsion when news broke last week that Monfared, who was just 20-years-old, was murdered and beheaded by his brother and cousins when they found out he was gay.
Alireza Fazeli Monfared had been planning to flee Iran with his boyfriend – but a letter exempting him from military service because of his “sexual depravity” outed him to his family, leading to the brutal “honour killing”.
Monfared’s killing has shocked the local LGBT+ community – and activists have decided to take a stand.
Two unnamed queer people responded to the news by recording videos of themselves walking the streets in Iran wearing Pride flags over their shoulders.
The video was sent to Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist, who shared it on 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,” a member of Iran’s LGBT+ community can be heard saying in the video as they walk the streets wearing rainbow colours.
“Dear Masih, we’re in Iran now. We’re LGBTQI. We know that we could be arrested, killed, executed for doing this,” a second person adds, also wearing a Pride flag.
“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.
“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.
“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 shared the powerful video on social media, writing: “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.”
The journalist urged people to “be their voice” and take a stand for LGBT+ rights in Iran.
Alireza Fazeli Monfared’s mother was ‘hospitalised with shock’ following his death
Monfared was reportedly murdered and beheaded by his half-brother and cousins on Tuesday (4 May) after they discovered a letter from the military disclosing his sexual orientation.
He was taken by car to the village of Borumi, near the capital of Ahvaz, by his brother, and his body was dumped under a tree.
Monfared’s partner, activist Aghil Bayat, told Iranian LGBT+ network 6rang that the killers subsequently called the murdered 20-year-old’s mother and told her where to find his body. She was later “hospitalised with shock”.
Women and LGBT+ people are often killed in so-called “honour killings” where it is believed that they have brought shame or dishonour on their family.
According to a 2019 study in The Journal of Interpersonal Violence, anti-LGBT+ “honour violence” is still used and encouraged around the world.
LGBT+ people in Iran face significant shocking levels of discrimination from their own families. A 2020 report from 6rang found that six in 10 queer people in Iran have been assaulted by family members.
Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and queer people can face life imprisonment or death.