'Gay Girl in Damascus' Actually Man in Turkey

Tom MacMaster admits he is blogger 'Amina Arraf'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2011 4:33 PM CDT
This picture, supposedly of Amina Arraf, turned out to be of another woman entirely.   (Free Amina Abdalla/Facebook)

(Newser) – The blogger behind “Gay Girl in Damascus” is not Amina Arraf, supposedly kidnapped last week in Syria, but a man who lives in Turkey. After the kidnapping story unraveled and led many to speculate the whole thing was a hoax, Tom MacMaster came forward today with a post on the blog revealing himself, the Atlantic reports. “I never expected this level of attention,” he writes. “While the narrative voice may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground. I do not believe that I have harmed anyone.”

The blog highlighted what it was like to be gay amidst the unrest in Syria, and MacMaster continues that he only wanted to illuminate the struggles of people in the Middle East “for a western audience. This experience has sadly only confirmed my feelings regarding the often superficial coverage of the Middle East and the pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism.”

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