The author of the now infamous Gay Girl in Damascus blog – which purported to record the thoughts of an out Syrian lesbian – has revealed himself to be a man called Tom.
The blog, which was followed by news organisations worldwide, is not the work of a 25-year-old woman but of Tom MacMasters, a man living in Scotland.
MacMasters has come under fire not just for faking the blog, but for provoking panic and outrage by faking its fictional author’s kidnap.
In a final post, MacMaster wrote:
‘I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground. I do not believe that I have harmed anyone — I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.
I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in thıs year of revolutions. The events there are beıng shaped by the people living them on a daily basis. I have only tried to illuminate them 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.
However, I have been deeply touched by the reactions of readers.
July 12, 2011
The sole author of all posts on this blog.’