Pop Quiz: Fake Lesbians
Last week it came out that the author of the blog A Gay Girl in Damascus, Amina Arraf, is actually a heterosexual American man living in Scotland, Tom MacMaster. A few days later it came out that the editor of Lez Get Real, a lesbian news site that allegedly helped “Amina” set up her blog, is also a married man from Ohio called Bill Graber.
It’s reported on Slate that sexual disguise is, in fact, a very old trick. The New Yorker has pointed out that, in the case of MacMaster, this is a case study in narcissism. But, I think my biggest problem with the situation is that white men – with all of the attendant white male privilege – has co-opted the identities of oppressed minorities to get their voices heard. This guy on Jezebel articulates this point of view very well.
Clearly, MacMaster and Graber are in different situations. MacMaster could have had an effect on the ability of people in the Middle East to be taken seriously when speaking on human rights issues in their part of the world. But both situations are interesting, nonetheless.
What do you think? Are the actions of Tom MacMaster and Bill Graber justified, or beyond the pale? Should we, as skeptics, have been more suspicious or sensitive to a potential hoax?
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons