Alireza Fazeli Monfared was 20 years old when his family beheaded him last month.
The social media influencer was just days away from escaping his home in Iran, where homosexuality is a death sentence, to live his dream as a free gay man in the West, only for it to be crushed by the fatal blow of Iranian homophobia.
“Pressure means not being able to behave however you want in society,” Monfared said to a friend in a voice recording sent to Insider as he made plans to escape for a new life in Europe.
When Monfared’s half-brother found the influencer’s paperwork detailing the soon-asylum-seeker’s exemption from the Iranian military, which allows homosexuals to forgo mandatory service, however, relatives in a remote village beheaded Monfared in what an Iranian human rights group declared an “honor killing.”
Monfared’s story is not unique to Iran. According to Human Dignity Trust, a U.K.-based global nonprofit dedicated to LGBT rights, homosexuality remains a