When Ali started blogging that he was Sudanese and gay, he did not realize he was joining a band of African and Middle Eastern gays and lesbians who, in the face of hostility and repression, have come out online.
But within days the messages started coming in to black-gay-arab.blogspot.com.
"Keep up the good work," wrote Dubai-based Weblogger 'Gay by nature'. "Be proud and blog the way you like," wrote Kuwait's gayboyweekly. Close behind came comments, posts and links purporting to be from almost half the countries in the Arab League, including Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain and Morocco.
Ali, who lists his home town as Khartoum but lives in Qatar, had plugged into a small, self-supporting network of people who have launched websites about their sexuality, while keeping their full identity secret. Caution is crucial - homosexual acts are illegal in most countries in Africa and the Middle East, with penalties ranging from long-term imprisonment to execution.
"The whole idea started as a diary. I wanted to write what's on my mind and mainly about homosexuality," he wrote in an e-mail. "To tell you the truth, I didn't expect this much response."
In the current climate, bloggers say they are achieving a lot just by stating their nationality and sexual orientation.
"If you haven't heard or seen any gays in Sudan then allow me to tell you 'You Don't live In The Real World then,'" Ali wrote in a message to other Sudanese bloggers." I'm Sudanese and Proud Gay Also."
His feelings were echoed in a mini-manifesto at the start of the blog "Rants and raves of a Kenyan gay man" that stated: "The Kenyan gay man is a myth and you may never meet one in your lifetime. However, I and many others like me do exist; just not openly. This blog was created to allow access to the pysche of me, who represents the thousands of us who are unrepresented."
News and abuse
That limited form of coming out has earned the bloggers abuse or criticism via their blogs' comment pages or e-mails.
"Faggot queen," wrote a commentator called 'blake' on Kenya's 'Rants and raves'. "I will put my loathing for you faggots aside momentarily, due to the suffering caused by the political situation," referring to the country's post-election violence.
Some are more measured: "The fact that you are a gay Sudanese and proudly posting about it in itself is just not natural," a reader called 'sudani' posted on Ali's blog.
Some of the bloggers use the diary-style format to share the ups and downs of gay life - the dilemma of whether to come out to friends and relatives, the risks of meeting in known gay bars, or, according to blogger "...and then God created Men!" the joys of the Egyptian resort town Sharm el-Sheikh.
Others have turned their blogs into news outlets, focusing on reports of persecution in their region.