A gay teen in Switzerland said that his homophobic father tried to kill him.
The 17-year-old alleged victim, who has been identified in the media only as “Seran M,” told the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten that he was woken up by his father standing over his bed with a knife shouting, “Are you gay? Are you gay?”
Seran said that the attack happened over six months ago. He tried to defend himself during the attack but he was cut in the throat and upper body. He managed to escape across the balcony to a neighbor’s place, and they called paramedics and the police.
He was taken to the University Hospital of Bern for treatment.
“Fortunately, he narrowly missed the carotid artery, but my trachea was badly injured,” Seran said. “I had to be put in an artificial coma.”
Seran, whose family is from Iraq, said that he does not know how his religious father found out that he is gay. “I’ve always hidden my homosexuality from my family,” he said.
He has since left the hospital. He is originally from a rural part of the canton of Bern, and now he’s living on his own in Bern.
“I am now a freer person than before the incident,” he said. But he said that his mother is “ashamed” of the incident.
Canton police said that the father has been arrested.
Seran said that his scars remind him every day of the attack.
“I see them in the mirror or when I take selfies and photos,” he said. “They will accompany me for the rest of my life.”
He posted about the attack on Instagram, according to 20 Minuten. Not all the comments he got were supportive.
“Some said I was ill because I was homo or ‘You are gay, you deserve it,’” he said.
Anita Streule of Amnesty International said that this was an “isolated incident” that would be considered shocking in Iraq, just as it is in Switzerland.
“In Iraq, as in Switzerland, there are progressive residents who have no problems with homosexuality at all,” Streule explained. “And then there are others in both countries who reject family members because of their homosexuality. However, Iraqi society as a whole is clearly conservative.”
Even though homosexuality is not illegal in Iraq, Streule said that it is effectively “criminalized” by the conservative society.
“That is, LGBT+ people mostly live in hiding,” she said. “Otherwise they risk being attacked by the conservative society.”
For Seran, the attack also left psychological scars.
“We are in 2019 and my father wanted to kill me because I like men,” he said. “I just cannot accept that.”