Over the past couple of days, news has broken that lesbian
blogger Amina Arraf, who wrote about her experiences in her blog, A Gay Girl in
Damascus, is in fact a 40-year-old white man studying in Scotland.
enough, but then it turned out that Paula Brooks, one of the editors of the
lesbian site LezGetReal is also a man, a 58-year-old who lives in Ohio.
The two knew
each other online — they even flirted, as good lesbians should — and Brooks
was as surprised as everyone else that Arraf is a dude.
Amina Arraf, aka Tom MacMaster, is an American studying at
Edinburgh University. An article in the Herald Scotland reports that the university has suspended MacMaster’s computer
privileges and that he is now under investigation.
Good, but it won’t undo the harm that has been already been
started blogging as Arraf in February. Within a few months, A Gay Girl in
Damascus became a news source for many campaigners and gay activists in Syria
and the Middle East. When news broke that the poor girl had been arrested, an
online campaign was launched to secure her release.
have enjoyed all the attention he was getting as a she, and I wonder how long he
would have continued to mock the legitimate struggles of real people. He did
not have the guts to come forward; the hoax came to light only after a woman
recognized that pictures of her had been used, without permission, on the online
drooled out a pathetic apology, saying that it all started “innocently enough
without any intention whatsoever of creating a massive hoax or duping the
world.” He claims that Amina came alive as a voice in his head — “I enjoyed ‘puppeting’ this woman who
never was. I knew what she looked like in my head, and I grabbed photos of a
woman whom I have never met who looked exactly like what Amina should look
apologized to other friends, including Paula Brooks, saying that “each of them,
in very different ways, was hurt deeply by me, and each of them will get a personal
apology from me.”
MacMaster will not have to apologize to Brooks, because she doesn’t exist
reported that Bill Graber admitted he was one of the editors of LezGetReal.
that he acted in good faith and set up the lesbian blog to advance the gay
and lesbian cause. He said he felt he would not be taken seriously as a
At least he got
that one right.
Since the news broke that Arraf and Brooks do not exist, the Twitter world has been on fire. The tweet that made me smile was,
“Because you know, white dudes just don’t get enough space in the media.”