If you saw the headline you have no doubt already heard the news that Gay Girl in Damascus was totally a dude.
I know, right?
"Why does this keep happening to me?!" aside -- Mr. MacMaster (the "Gay Girl in Damascus") has deeply wounded many in the LGBTI community.
So why has this infuriated so many? Because people don't like you speaking for them.
In a way, MacMaster had inadvertently co opted the voice of LGBTI people in the region. As a straight American man, he was writing about issues with which he could sympathize but never fully understand.
Of course, the right to anonymity and privacy is essential. MacMaster has every right to assume a false identity just as I have every right to pretend I'm a night elf maiden. In fact, the ability to remain anonymous is what makes the internet so attractive for Syrian lesbians -- and not just the ones with webcams and a poor upbringing.
In his apology, MacMaster was bold enough to say:
"I don't believe I have hurt anybody"
Not so, Tom.
You have hurt Jelena Lecic, who's image was spread across the globe without her permission. Though she is kind of cute.
You have hurt the credibility of LGBTI activists, some of whom are actually gay girls... in Damascus.
And worst of all, you have hurt ME. I totally tweeted one of your blog posts... you made me lie to the internet!
This is not to attack Mr. MacMaster personally. His heart was in the right place, and these issues are important. But if straight American men really want to help the cause they should stand up openly in support of the movement -- not try to usurp it.
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