In the wake of yesterday's revelation that Syrian lesbian blogger Amina Arraf was actually married American grad student Tom MacMaster, another lesbian blogger—the editor who first gave "Arraf" her platform—admitted to being a married man in Ohio.
Elizabeth Flock and Melissa Bell, the Washington Post reporters who helped break the Amina Arraf/Tom MacMasters story, came up with another bombshell just one day later: Paula Brooks, the editor of lesbian news site LezGetReal, is actually "retired Ohio military man and construction worker" Bill Graber, a 58-year-old who used his wife's name to found and run the site.
Brooks had been the first person to publish Amina Arraf's writing on the Syrian revolution, and as such was something of a "person of interest" to people investigating Arraf—especially because, as Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty pointed out at Electronic Intifada, "Paula Brooks is the sole source of information on Paula Brooks."
Flock and Bell seem to have had similar misgivings during their interactions with Brooks. She told them that she was deaf, and couldn't give phone interviews, but they were able to talk to a man who identified himself as her father. Eventually, after pressing him, the man—Graber—admitted he was Brooks.
He said he started the site to push for gay rights issues. "I thought people wouldn't take it seriously," he told the Post, "me being a straight man." (Heh. Generally speaking, there are few better ways to be taken seriously than to be a straight man, regardless of the issue at hand.) His wife didn't know about the use of her name. Graber told Flock and Bell that he's turning over the running of the site to contributor Linda LaVictoire (who is, apparently, the only actual lesbian on the internet), and that he hopes he hasn't "set back the causes of the gay and lesbian community."
And because I know you're wondering:
In the guise of Paula Brooks, Graber corresponded online with Tom MacMaster, thinking he was writing to Amina Arraf. Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian.
[WaPo; images via WaPo/Twitter]