Some LGBTQ+ rights activists are taking to the streets in Iran following the “honor killing” of a young gay man after he was outed to his family earlier this month.
20-year-old Ali Fazeli Monfared was murdered by a group of men from his family after his half-brother discovered a card exempting Fazeli Monfared from military service on account of his sexuality. According to the Iranian LGBTQ+ network, 6Rang, Fazeli Monfared was then kidnapped from his home in the southern city of Ahvaz, beheaded, and dumped.
Then, on Wednesday, journalist Masih Alinejad received a video from activists which depicted two individuals walking along streets draped in the rainbow flag. A voice over, with subtitles, at the beginning of the video says that it is filmed “In memory of all victims of violence fighting for their freedom.”
As the video continues, a second voice over, also with subtitles, says, “We only mind our own business, but they call us ‘corrupters of earth,’ They make fun of us, or even kill us, when they find out about our sexuality,” before ending with the words, “Masih! We exist, and we will fight until we are victorious. Let people see us. We, too, have the right to live and fall in love.”
“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
Alinejad reposted the video to her Twitter feed, writing, “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.”
Prior to his killing, Fazeli Monfared had applied for the exemption so that he could move to Turkey, where he had a partner and other contacts. Military service is compulsory for men in Iran, but one can earn an exemption for mental illness, which homosexuality is classified as.
“We think that because of his gender expression and his behaviors, they knew that he is homosexual, but it was proof that shows he wants to leave the country, that he is a gay man,” said 6Rang executive director Shadi Amin in a statement to NBC News, regarding the discovery of the exemption.
Homosexuality is criminalized in Iran, where it can be punishable by death. Although 6Rang first reported that the men connected to Fazeli Monfared’s murder had been arrested, the organization later reported to NBC News that no arrests had been made.