The straight male obsession with lesbians has gone too far

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 · 25 Comments »

I don’t normally blog on queer issues, seeing as how I’m not queer and there are plenty of real-live queer bloggers out there to tend to things. At least, I think there are. After today, who the fuck knows.

You probably saw the news already that the Gay Girl in Damascus blogger, “Amina Arraf,” turned out to be one Tom “I Am A Total Fucktwit” MacMaster, a straight white dude living in Scotland. The whole blog was a hoax. “I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about,” the oblivious self-involved twit explained earnestly, as his brains dripped slowly from his ears.

And now it turns out that “Paula Brooks,” the editor of the lesbian news site Lez Get Real, is also a straight white dude:

“Paula Brooks,” editor of Lez Get Real since its founding in 2008, is actually Bill Graber, 58, a retired Ohio military man and construction worker who said he had adopted his wife’s identity online. Graber said she was unaware he had been using her name on his site.

He claims he did it so he could help lesbians, who are apparently constrained from typing into computer keyboards to record their own thoughts. I bet lesbians are so happy that straight dudes like Graber and MacMaster are out there helping them, creating important voices and shit.

Anyway, the two hoaxes collided when “Paula Brooks” at Lez Get Real started publishing “Amina Arraf,” though neither man realized the other was a phony. This is the best part:

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.

Next it’ll turn out that Twisty Faster is really a horse.

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25 Responses to “The straight male obsession with lesbians has gone too far”

  1. Swannie says:

    Shouldn’t The Lesbian Mafia do something about this? I follow them on twitter. I hope they are real.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    You can’t make this sh*t up.

  3. propertius says:

    “Next it’ll turn out that Twisty Faster is really a horse.”

    I, however, am really a basilisk with a hippogriff fetish.

  4. Sameol says:

    McMaster threw his wife under the bus, too. The Post was investigating her because she’s the expert on Syria and, well, also female. She didn’t have a clue what they were talking about and they harranged her for several days while he assured her he knew nothing either. He only confessed when he found out his name was going to be published alongside hers anyway.

  5. ugsome says:

    Where are the straight white dudes denouncing this woman-hating shit that is CONSTANTLY crossing the headlines?


  6. ugsome says:

    Sameol, isn’t it interesting how he considered his wife’s career his property to use and throw away? Fucker.

  7. Nessum says:

    That hoax was beyond appalling on so many levels.

    And apropos of nothing specific, I recently watched a documentary about John Lennon’s time in the US. Talking about his “Woman is the N***** of the World” he mentions the outcry from some: “Usually they were white … And male.”

  8. Mike McQuaid says:

    Straight white dude here who usually doesn’t comment but is commenting now to denounce this stupid bullshit.

  9. Melinda says:

    As a lesbian, I wholeheartedly agree. Please know that although you aren’t one of us, you are welcome to speak up for us any time you wish. We need our straight allies and kind of love you all too. We do not, however, need straight people pretending to be us and believing that they can steal our voices. We are more than capable of speaking to our own experiences ourselves.

  10. votermom says:

    Does any one else get the feeling that we really do actually exist in a bizarro universe that is actually in a comic book?

  11. ugsome says:

    Thanks, Mike. *high five* Allies welcome.

  12. Mary Tracy says:

    This idea that women who like women = men who like women is really beyond understanding. It reminds me of the time I tried to explain to my “friends” that no, “lesbian pr0n” had nothing to do with lesbians. They didn’t believe me, of course. Lesbians only exist in this universe if they turn men on.

  13. votermom says:

    He claims he did it so he could help lesbians

    I think I could have acknowledged a grain of grudging respect if either of them had said something like “I did it to prove how gullible you all are!” or (probably closer to the truth) “I did it to get phone numbers of hot lez grrlz!” or “I did it for the ad clicks!” or something like that.

  14. votermom says:

    my comment totally didn’t show up? I think maybe it went into spam?

  15. Sameol says:

    . I also don’t get why he felt the need to screw around with someone else’s life. If he felt “Amina” needed a girlfriend, he could have just invented one, but I guess it was funnier to ensnare a real person. She was terrified when she thought her girlfriend was taken by the security forces.

  16. Three Wickets says:

    Nothing surprises me these days when it comes to “progressive” dude activists, especially the ones who drink from Obama’s koolaid. So many are hyper-aggressive nutcases with issues.

  17. Boner Killer says:

    I heard about the blogger, but this is the first time I have heard about the 58 year old dude posing as a lesbian. Okay, what the FUCK is going on? Seriously. It’s one thing that dudes sexualize and heternormatize (is that a word?) lesbian women, it’s a whole other shit-show when they start impersonating them…unbelievable. Thank you for covering this.

  18. HeroesGetMade says:

    There just aren’t any words for my bogglement upon hearing about things these guys get up to. I have no concept of why anyone would do stuff like this, why anyone would snap and ship pictures of their privates to persons unknown, ad nauseum infinitum. My small experience with guys impersonating female human beings online, though, was that every last one of them hated women, with a white hot passion.

    Maybe MacMaster and Graber should move in together? As my dad was wont to say in such situations, “It’s a shame to waste two houses on ‘em.”

  19. K.A. says:

    Men love appropriating things from women for themselves. Anything, really. It’s a life-long fetish.

  20. Hilary says:

    As much as I agree with the general sentiment of this post (“I bet lesbians are so happy that straight dudes like Graber and MacMaster are out there helping them, creating important voices and shit”), after reading the article about Graber, I just felt bad. I don’t know about MacMaster, and truthfully I have never checked out either of these sites in depth, but this uncovering of two straight dudes masquerading as lesbian women indicates, to me, assuming that these dudes might actually have good intentions, that men have a hard time feeling comfortable openly participating in feminist or queer discourse.
    I realize that the whole lesbian aspect makes this a whole other ball game, given that there is a straight male cultural obsession with lesbianism (rooted in misogyny), but if we stop for one moment to consider that maybe- just maybe- it is possible for a straight dude to genuinely care about queer and feminist issues- then Graber’s claim that he was inspired to create the site because of his lesbian friends who were treated unfairly makes this whole debacle really sad and pitiful, and it points to a larger issue of real feminists and queer activists being alienated from activism because they’re not female or queer.

    Of course- if he cares about queer issues, then why make a site focusing primarily on lesbian issues, if there is no fetish aspect? I don’t know. If we give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe it’s because he’s also a feminist who is just super passionate about lesbian issues.

    I realize why this doesn’t seem plausible, but I think sympathetic straight men should feel welcome to participate in these dialogues, respectfully. But yeah, I think it’s pretty fucked up to pretend to be something you’re not in order to have these discussions, and I imagine that if I was a reader of/contributor to these sites, I’d feel deceived and angry.

  21. Violet Socks says:

    Hilary, I personally think this Guardian piece nails it:

    Iman Qureshi, a Pakistani lesbian writer, sees this as a very distinct form of egotism. “I think the rise of identity politics – a concerted effort to give marginalised people a voice – has made some white heterosexual men a little paranoid or insecure,” she says, “so they invent an oppression and position themselves as victims. I would assume MacMaster felt ostracised from his ‘own people’, as it were, and as a result took on a persona in which he felt he could be heard without criticism. This seems to me to be a hero complex that’s really a very smug delusion – ‘Look at me, look at how I’m standing up for oppressed people.’”

    Both cases, says the feminist writer Beatrix Campbell, can be seen as a portrait of male dominance – men needing to infiltrate discussions where they wouldn’t otherwise have an obvious, and certainly not an authoritative, place. She says that when it comes to MacMaster, “he clearly doesn’t have a clue about what the politics of identity has tried to reveal, which is, first, that we are not all white men, and second, that white men are always treated as the supreme identity. Here he is, doing the same thing – claiming the virtue of representing a repressed condition, in a repressed part of the world, deciding that he is the person who will give that voice. That is the supreme irony. Here we have a boundaryless white American boy absolutely habituated to a kind of supremacy, and reiterating that supremacy through his blog. It speaks to an omnipotence that doesn’t understand its own limits.”

  22. votermom says:

    Hilary @20 – You got to be kidding me.

    this uncovering of two straight dudes masquerading as lesbian women indicates, to me, assuming that these dudes might actually have good intentions, that men have a hard time feeling comfortable openly participating in feminist or queer discourse.

    This is, to me, almost co-dependent thinking. When someone misbehaves it does not mean that it is because the other person was insufficiently inoffensive. The two male bloggers had no sense of and no respect for the boundaries of others. That’s it.

  23. votermom says:

    Oops, Violet, spammy got me.

  24. hilary says:

    Violet-thanks for that excerpt. I think I’m understanding it a little differently now.

    Votermom- I agree with you. I don’t think these men had any respect for the boundaries of others. I think what they did is pathetic. I also feel like many feminist men do feel alienated from activism or discussion, and I was considering whether or not this is a case of that. I don’t agree with what the men did, though. I don’t “feel sorry” for them, because even if they did feel alienated, what they resorted to in order to participate in that discussion was (as Violet’s excerpt articulates) an exercise in their own supremacy (because they felt the only way they could participate was to have an authoritative voice on an issue unique to women) which I also find “supremely ironic.” I do think that feminist men should be involved in activism if they want to, but I don’t think they should exercise authority within the movement- I do believe it should literally be a women’s movement. Hence I flip my lid when some pompous liberal dude tries to ‘correct’ any misunderstandings I might have about feminism.

  25. votermom says:

    Thanks for clarifying, hilary!