In what can only be described as horrific, a 20-year-old Iranian man was beheaded by his half-brother and two cousins because he was gay. Alireza “Ali” Fazeli Monfared, 20, was killed after his family learned he had been exempted from military service because of his sexual orientation.
Monafred had already moved out of the family home because he feared some of his family. His partner, Aghil Bayat, said Monafred only went back to the house to retrieve the military exemption card. In a cruel twist of fate, his half-brother allegedly found the letter and the card first. Why was the card important? The card clearly referred to the clause in the law exempting those with “moral and sexual depravities such as transsexualism.”
What happened next according to Iran International, was that:
When Monfared arrived, he was told his father wished to speak to him. The half-brother and two other men then drove him to a remote location in the village of Borumi, where they allegedly murdered, beheaded, and dumped his body.
The murderers then called Monfared’s mother and told her where she could find the body of her only son. Upon hearing the news, she broke down in shock and had to be hospitalized. Monfared was planning on joining his boyfriend in Turkey as a refugee at the time of his murder.
Iranian LGBT+ group 6rang (six colors), an activist group campaigning for Iranian lesbians and transgender citizens, denounced the “honour” killing and the military exemption policy saying:
“Alireza’s killing as a result of his sexual orientation being stated on his military service [exemption] card has once again provided proof for our warning several years ago about the risks caused by the military service exemption process for gay Iranian men and underlines the need for legislation to prevent these safety risks,”
Honour killings are still practiced in many parts of the country with the murderers rarely being brought to justice. A report compiled by 6rang in 2020 found that six in 10 queer people in Iran have been assaulted by family members, while almost half have been sexually assaulted in public.
Season 12 Rupaul’s Drag Contestant Jackie Cox, herself of Persian descent tweeted her heartbreak for #Alirez.
My heart is broken for #Alireza – beheaded in Iran by his own brother for being gay. He was attempting to seek asylum in Turkey with his boyfriend. Only TWENTY years old. Imagine what his life would have been had he escaped? 😔💔 #AlirezaIsMyFamily #علیرضا_فاضلی_منفرد @6rangiran pic.twitter.com/tCjYzU7IXP
— Jackie Cox (@JackieCoxNYC) May 9, 2021
Another report from 6rang found 62 percent of LGBTQ+ Iranians had experienced violence from their own family.
In the wake of Ali’s murder the LGBTQ+ community has taken to Twitter to express their sorrow and outrage as the hashtags #Alireza and #AlirezaIsMyFamily have been trending worldwide.