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Paula Brooks? Second "gay girl" blogger exposed as a man

The editor of a lesbian news site comes forward that he's a man.

Syria lesbian blogger 6 9 2011Enlarge
A screen grab shows the main page of the Syrian parliament's official website after it was hacked by Syrian opposition activists on April 29, 2011. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

The second blogger writing under the guise of a lesbian woman has been exposed to be a man.

"Paula Brooks," who claimed to be editor of the lesbian news site Lez Get Real, has come forward about her true identity: a retired construction worker from Ohio named Bill Graber.

Graber told the Washington Post Monday he had adapted his wife's identity online. His wife was not aware of this.

The news comes one day after the identity of the writer behind "A Gay Girl in Damascus" became known to be not a lesbian living in Syria, but an American masters student studying in Scotland.

The "Gay Girl" writer, Tom MacMaster, finally came clean on the blog Sunday and wrote an "apology to readers" explaining what was happening.

"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," he wrote.

The Damascus blog had developed a large and loyal following as it pretended to chronicle life under Syrian rule during protests and the subsequent government crackdown.

When reports emerged that the alleged writer of the blog, 25-year-old Amina Abdallah Arraf al-Omari, was kidnapped by Syrian forces, there was an outpouring of support and concern. The United States government began looking into the case because the woman was allegedly part Syrian and part American.

But then doubts emerged as to the writer's true identity. As journalists and blog readers searched for clues to "Amina's" identity, that of "Paula Brooks" came into question.

Liz Henry at questioned the connection between Amina and Brooks, as the former wrote about the political situation in Syria for the Lez Get Real blog, the Guardian reports.

As journalists tried to investigate, Brooks told reporters she was deaf and reporters would have to speak with her father. It soon became revealed that her "father" was a hoax as well as Brooks' claims about her background.

Much of the gay community who had followed Brooks' blog reacted to the news with anger, which is the same response MacMaster triggered about Middle East bloggers.

"The whole gay community of bloggers is freaking out right now because everyone in some shape or form has encountered Paula Brooks. It has had a severe impact on the trust among the web of bloggers who are interconnected and work with each other," activist Melanie Nathan told the Guardian.

"In my opinion, what Graber has done, to be a straight man calling himself a lesbian, is tantamount to impersonating an entire community."