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Teen's Harrowing Story: Dad 'Screamed "Are You Gay?" and Slashed My Throat!'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday November 14, 2019

People in most European nations have a reputation for being reasonable, accepting, and LGBTQ-friendly. But the story told by a 17-year-old boy in Switzerland could have happened in any number of intensely homophobic nations, including parts of the United States.

According to a Swiss news outlet, the newspaper 20 Minuten (20 Minutes), the young man - identified only as Seran M. - was sleeping when he was suddenly woken up by a knife being pressed to his throat.

Reported 20 Minuten:

His father held the knife in his hand as the 17-year-old stared up at him in terror. "He screamed: 'Are you gay? Are you gay?' and slashed the knife across my throat..."

The account said that it was only "through luck" that the teen survived the attack, desperately repelling his knife-wielding father and then leaping from the balcony outside his bedroom. Neighbors summoned emergency services and the police. His father was taken into custody.

The newspaper said that Seran suffered "deep cuts to his neck and torso."

The teen told the paper that although the blade had missed his carotid artery, "my trachea was badly injured. I had to be put into a medically-induced coma" in order to facilitate the healing process.

Seran put photos of his badly slashed throat, which doctors stitched up, on Facebook. The paper provided photos of the extensive scars he now carries, more than six months after the attempt on his life.

In a follow-up story, 20 Minuten noted that Seran's family is originally from Iraq, but quoted Amnesty International's Anita Streule as saying that such attacks are not commonplace in that country.

However, Streule acknowledged that gay people in Iraq often live in the shadows, fearful of how their families or others in their homophobic society might react.

Seran M. told the newspaper that he had been careful to conceal his authentic self from his family and didn't know how his father got wind of his sexual orientation. But the youth says that the trauma of the attack has not stopped him from going public with his story on Instagram and encouraging other LGBTQ members of the Muslim faith to live out and proud.

Said Seran: "It's 2019, and my father tried to kill me because I like men. I can't accept that."

Viral Tab reported that the teen is getting professional help to deal with the trauma of the attack. He now lives apart from his family in the city of Bern.

Stories of parents attempting to murder their non-heterosexual children - or succeeding in killing them - are all too common. In Nevada, in 2017, Wendell Melton shot and killed his 14-year-old son, Giovanni. Though Wendell denied killing the boy because he was gay and claimed that he drew the gun only after his son pushed him down during an argument, Wendell's ex-wife and Giovanni's foster mother both described the man's hatred of gays to the media and said that he "hated the fact that his son was gay," . Moreover, Giovanni had alleged that his father had drawn a gun on him on at least one previous occasion when he caught him together with another boy.

Last summer, Wendell was given house arrest while he awaits trial, a development that sparked outrage.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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