On my website GlobalGayz.com I do not have an informative descriptive story about LGBT life in Mauritania. There is virtually nothing about the country’s homosexual citizens on the entire Internet. And for good reason: the country, located in northwest Africa, is dominated by Sharia Muslim law, which as most of us know is vehemently gay-dangerous. Recently I made an attempt to probe into gay life there. I found a contact, a lawyer who was gay and seemed willing at first to talk (write). He invited me to ask questions and I responded with some usual queries such as when did you first realize you were gay? what was your family’s reaction, if they know? is there any LGBT organization in Mauritania? is your life at risk? I assured him I would mask his identity and any other identifiers.

His response was startling although not surprising. I had presumed he was somewhat out because he had been named as head of an LGBT organization with an internet page. That turned not to be an accurate assessment of his situation. His reply is posted here, with appropriate redactions to prevent any risk to him:

“But you know it’s very danger for that our publication are written **** Association for LGBT. Please delete (the word) Lgbt in your publication because this time some police are call me and try to have my ideal and arrested me. You can only say the **** Association founder (myself) was bloque (denied) by (a European) Embassy (for a visa)…
This is too danger for me; I feel unsecurity of my life here. OMG if I get arrested and be in jail and no one will care about me I will died in that jail… I haven’t enough money for leave and run away from Mauritania; the US Embassy will never cover me and I’m starting to be bored (afraid) with this activism for Lgbt.  Since we have starting we never get any funds. I’m thinking to cancel the Association and stay cool and stop my activism for Lgbt defenders; you will understanding well what I want to say. Delete all publishing about me please. I’m fear here. I’m a Lgbt community defender. Yes I like men I do but I’m fear now. I’m 27 years old now…”

I well know how risky LGBT advocacy can be in some countries, especially Muslim countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Palestine, Algeria, Yemen; as well as Christian states such as Jamaica, Nigeria, East Timor, Romania, Russia… Four of my interviewees for GlobalGayz have been murdered in both Muslim and Christian countries. Those of us living in ‘protective bubbles’ where being gay is accepted and celebrated do not see the brutality and terror that many LGBTs live with daily. This reply is a daunting reminder of the wide world of homophobia in which we live and a wake up call to increase our opposition to individual and institutional bigotry and persecution against us. Never forget, never stop. More will die in the struggle to make  many others free and equal.