It cracked me up to find out that Tom MacMaster, the straight American dude masquerading as Syrian blogger ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’ was busted creating another online persona — another Arab woman — to say nice things about him online and defend his fake-lesbian antics.

Too bad some smart cookie realised the IP address of the new lady, ‘Miriam’, was the same as MacMaster’s!

Like the rest of the lez community I was totally pissed when I heard about Tom. Not only because I’d had genuine concern for ‘Amina’, his fictional alter ego, but because I’m sick of the straight bloke obsession with lesbianism — whether it’s sleazy dudes posing as chicks on dating sites or the vast array of ‘lesbian’ porn, clearly for the male gaze (long fingernails, humungous fake boobs), that I come across online when searching for the real deal.

But here I am getting worked up about some dude getting his lez on when I’m guilty of the same internet fakery myself. Confession: I have an online male alter ego called Jasper who occasionally hangs out on Grindr.

He’s an indie boy who’s attracted to cute, tattooed, masculine hipsters. He likes to flirt but gets a bit frigid at the first mention of ‘cock pic’. I mainly use Grindr to communicate with my homo-housemate (who never answers his phone) but I also like using it to explore parts of my identity that I can’t, or don’t want to, explore, in real life.

It’s super dodgy but that’s what’s great about the internet. It’s a playground where you can experiment with different genders and sexualities in an anonymous and relatively safe way. We’re all complex, curious, contradictory creatures and it’s nice to have a platform to test out the bits of ourselves that we might not necessarily understand.

I’m in no way excusing MacMaster because there’s no shortage of ‘male voices’ in the world. But I do wonder if the public reaction would have been different if it was a girl posing as a guy.

Hungry Beast pal Marc Fennell recently said he’d love to secure the film rights to MacMaster’s story. Excellent idea. But in the true spirit of Hollywood gender bending, I’d want a Scooby-Doo ending where they rip off Tom MacMaster’s face to reveal Miley Cyrus.

‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’: http://damascusgaygirl.blogspot.com/

By MONIQUE SCHAFTER

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