Who is Rahaf?
I am a trans women soul,and woman in the body of a man
I am someone I choose to be who I am to follow my feelings and tendencies and not what society and family impose on me
I am the first transgender woman to appear in the media in Mauritania
Currently I live in a secret place in an Arab country
What difficulties have you faced as a transgender?
The difficulties never stopped, starting with my family abandoning me and trying to kill me, and then alienation and settling in a country close to mine. This means that every day I am alive by chance.
Because when I get out of the house I don’t know if I will come back or die on the way
I did nothing to make my life worthless in my society and I do not have the right to live in their eyes!
What difficulties did you meet?
I encountered many problems and difficulties
Mauritania does not provide any medical or psychological support for transgender people
When I am subjected to violence, I cannot complain
Because the texts of the law do not protect me, but rather arrest and imprison me
I belong to a religious family that tried to kill me several times
And she burned my arm
She was bullied, persecuted, and violent by society
So I fled to an Arab country with the help of a friend
Have you been exposed to hate speech or threats?
I am constantly psychologically abused by hundreds of messages of threats, hate speech and incitement against me on social media
In your opinion, how does the international community deal with the suffering of homosexuals and transsexuals in Mauritania?
We are in a time of gender pluralism and rights. My journey to freedom will not be faced by the many legal, religious and societal obstacles.
Mauritanian society, like other Arab societies, adopts a policy of suppressing homosexuals and transgender people
There are many obstacles that prevent transgender people from living normally in Mauritania, enjoying their civil rights and exercising their individual freedoms.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international covenants state that all citizens have equal rights
Perhaps the most prominent of these obstacles is the legal barrier, as the legislator did not take into account the presence of homosexuals and transgender people.
Sharia laws are applied in Mauritania
If Article 308 of the Mauritanian Penal Code states, “Any adult person who commits debauchery or perversion with a member of his sex will face the death penalty in public.”
Complete disregard for civil society
In light of the continuing silence regarding violations against homosexuals and transgender people in Mauritania
What is the message that you want to direct to the Mauritanian community, as the first Mauritanian transgender to face the community with courage?
Take away your rights by force and don’t let violence, oppression, discrimination and inequality destroy your courage
We need to keep telling our stories
All we have to do is pull the hands of the transients on their cruel and painful journey, and they are trying to come out to life with their personal identities with which they got to know and reconcile and accept their hardship and still are.
Rahaf’s story is similar to the many stories of transgender people in Arab and Islamic countries who defy circumstances, transformations, and concepts. They stand in front of the mirror of themselves with determination and courage to grab their rights
What Rahaf and other activists are doing in confronting the society to take away their rights marks an important shift in the face of tyranny.