On the internets, nobody knows you’re a dawg… until you get caught humping a fantasy:
A second supposedly leading lesbian blogger was exposed as a man masquerading as a gay woman, a day after the Gay Girl in Damascus blog was revealed to be the fictional creation of a married male student from Edinburgh.
Paula Brooks, who claimed to be the executive editor of a US-based lesbian site LezGetReal.com, told the Washington Post that “she”, too, was a man – in this case, a 58-year-old retired construction worker from Ohio called Bill Graber…
Challenged on Monday by the Washington Post, Graber said he had started the blog after witnessing the mistreatment of close lesbian friends.
“I didn’t start this with my name because … I thought people wouldn’t take it seriously, me being a straight man,” he said. He said his interaction with Amina was purely coincidental, “a major sock-puppet hoax crash[ing] into a major sock-puppet hoax.”
Amina often “flirted” with Brooks, the paper said – with neither man apparently realising that the other was also a man pretending to be a lesbian.
Apparently some people are not aware of all internet traditions… or at least they prefer to ignore them when looking online for ‘inspiration’.
To give Graber his due, at least his “Brooks” fiction didn’t put well-meaning actual people living under the real-world control of the Syrian government at risk of exposure, imprisonment, and/or torture:
Sami Hamwi, the pseudonym for the Damascus editor of GayMiddleEast.com, wrote: “To Mr MacMaster, I say shame on you!!! There are bloggers in Syria who are trying as hard as they can to report news and stories from the country. We have to deal with too many difficulties than you can imagine. What you have done has harmed many, put us all in danger, and made us worry about our LGBT activism. Add to that, that it might have caused doubts about the authenticity of our blogs, stories, and us.
“Your apology is not accepted, since I have myself started to investigate Amina’s arrest. I could have put myself in a grave danger inquiring about a fictitious figure. Really … Shame on you!!!”
“What a waste of time when we are trying so hard to get news out of Syria,” another Damascus activist told the Guardian.
“Exposing new forms of liberal Orientalism“, my pale flabby arse; white male (Mac)Masters of the Universe granting themselves permission to speak for oppressed women of ‘exotic’ cultures (since the poor dears obviously aren’t competent to do so for themselves) was stale when Burton channeled Sheherazade.
(h/t commentor Scav)