A French trans man was found murdered on April 7 in the fire in his apartment in Reims, killed in brutal fashion by a Congolese man in what police say was due to the victim’s sexual orientation.
The 50-year-old victim, Paul Migeon, was found with his throat slit along with 14 neck and cervical wounds.
The accused man confessed to the crime, specifying that he had stabbed the victim with scissors after raping Paul and setting the apartment on fire to erase the evidence. He also stole and used the victim’s credit card, which helped investigators to track down the suspect.
The perpetrator, a Congolese national born in 1994, obtained refugee status in France in 2017. The prosecutor said that the crime was motivated by hatred for LGBT people.
As L’Indépendant reported, the family of the victim, living in Canet-en-Roussillon, broke their silence around the murder and shared the story of Migeon in order to bring to light “all those forgotten victims.”
“He was killed for who he was. People think they are just transvestites, maybe they looked for it — just as one would judge an assaulted prostitute. But, before being a transvestite, my uncle was a human being,” said Laura Estevon, the niece of the victim.
“If justice had done its job, he would have been behind bars,” Migeon’s relatives pointed out, referring to the fact that the migrant murderer had already tried to kill a transgender person before 2017.
The niece of the victim also reacted to the offensive comments on social media.
“If France disgusts you as much, you are free to go home … If it was a Frenchman who would speak like that, it would cause a scandal … You’re no better than my uncle’s murderer,” wrote Laura Estevon in response to some of the comments critical of the family speaking out against the murder.
“He killed an angel,” said Brigitte Zagoyan, the victim’s sister, recounting the difficulties her brother faced during childhood.
“He was a very nice, pleasant person. Everyone says it. He never showed even a gesture of violence,” continued Brigitte, explaining that Paul shared with her that he had always felt like a woman but was afraid of being rejected, so he only dressed in women’s clothes at home.
In Middle Eastern and African culture, LGBT people are highly vulnerable to attacks and state repression. Many countries in both the Middle East and Africa outright ban homosexuality and threaten steep prison sentences for anyone convicted. The Congo has been singled out in a report by the Human Rights Committee for endemic abuse against the LGBT community. Migrants from these cultures have consistently been involved in targeting gay people, including Germany, Sweden and Belgium.
Title image: Paul Migeon (Source: Laura Estevon, niece of the victim / Facebook)