As It Turns Out, ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ Is a Married White Man in Scotland

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Syrian lesbian writer Amina Arraf, who wrote the site A Gay Girl in Damascus, was allegedly arrested by Syrian security forces last week, according to her blog, before the veracity of A Gay Girl came under scrutiny. Sudden red flags — nobody had ever met Arraf, for one thing — led some Internet detectives to the possibility that Arraf is a 35-year-old lesbian living in Scotland. Where there’s smoke: “Apology to readers,” Arraf wrote today. It turns out, Arraf is a peace activist named Tom MacMaster, an American man from Georgia, currently studying for a masters in Middle Eastern policy at Edinburgh University. The photographs of Arraf, allegedly released by “a friend,” are actually photos of Jelena Lecic, a London woman who says her identity has been stolen. Obviously, MacMaster is not a lesbian. He’s married to Britta Froelicher, a student at the University of St. Andrews working toward a Ph.D. in Syrian economic development. The two are currently vacationing in Istanbul. On the blog, MacMaster explained:

Sadly, it has also only confirmed everyone else’s feelings regarding grad students.

A Gay Girl in Damascus’ comes clean [WP]
Syrian lesbian blogger is revealed conclusively to be a married man [Guardian UK]
Gay Girl In Damascus’ Apologizes, Admits She Is An American Man [Two-Way/NPR]