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The “Gay Girl in Damascus” Hoax Didn’t Cause Any Real Harm…Right? June 14th, 2011
The “Gay Girl in Damascus” Hoax Didn’t Cause Any Real Harm…Right?

Cross-Posted at Not Your Average Feminist

Daniel Nassar and other amazing activists and bloggers who are actually living in totalitarian states think otherwise.  As reported, hoax-man Tom MacMaster kind of apologized for the lies, but in the end he feels as though he’s brought light to an issue near and dear to his heart. He’s even joked about writing a book about the entire process.  Tom thinks he’s doing the world a great justice by speaking for a group of people, but I wonder if he’s ever spoken to Syrian LGBTQ folks about their needs.

Daniel Nassar has something to say to Mr. MacMaster:

“I’m so outraged I can’t even type well.

Mr. Tom MacMaster, with due respect, has the audacity to say on the blog he created over the last two years that he did not harm anyone with his fictional writing; I beg to differ.

Because of you, Mr. MacMaster, a lot of the real activists in the LGBT community became under the spotlight of the authorities in Syria. These activists, among them myself, had to change so much in their attitude and their lives to protect themselves from the positional harm your little stunt created. You have, sir, put a lot of lives, mine and some friends included, in harm’s way so you can play your little game of fictional writing.

This attention you brought forced me back to the closet on all the social media websites I use; cause my family to go into a frenzy trying to force me back into the closet and my friends to ask me for phone numbers of loved ones and family members so they can call them in case I disappeared myself. Many people who are connected to me spent nights worrying about me and many fights I had with my family were because you wanted to play your silly game of the media.

You feed the foreign media an undeniable dish of sex, religion and politics and you are now leaving us with this holier-than-thou semi-apologize with lame and shallow excuses of how you wanted to bring attention to the right people on the ground. I’m sorry, you’re not on the ground, you don’t know the ground and you don’t even belong to the culture of the people on the group.

You took away my voice, Mr. MacMaster, and the voices of many people who I know. To bring attention to yourself and blog; you managed to bring the LGBT movement in the Middle East years back. You single-handedly managed to bring unwanted attention from authorities to our cause and you will be responsible for any LGBT activist who might be yet another fallen angel during these critical time.

I’m outraged, and if I lived in a country where I can sue you, I would.”

Well said! Silencing those who are oppressed so that your own voice can be heard is not liberation.  Rather, Tom has committed liberally-educated “do-good” work that he was only able to accomplish because he comes from a place of privilege. I hope he is held accountable for his actions, and if he decides to publish a book, it should primarily feature actual Syrian LGBTQ voices.

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