Tom MacMaster is a graduate student living with his wife in Scotland. While trying to persuade Minal Hajratwala, author of “Leaving India” and winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction; MacMaster posed as a Syrian lesbian.
MacMaster posed as Amina Arraf, a blogger fighting for democracy in Syria. He made Amina a lesbian to get the sympathies of book publishers. The blog, the “Gay Girl in Damascus” was a fraud. His only intent was to prey upon the success of Hajratwala, and piggy back on her publishing prowess.
Hajratwala stated that she received many chapters from the Syrian woman’s autobiography. The Syrian, lesbian activist asked for advise and aid in getting the book published. Hajratwala refused to send the chapters on stating the style of writing was “rambling and in need of a lot of work.”
Hajratwala stated that she suspected there was more to the story than a quest for a Syrian activist to get her word out. She found inconsistencies in the writing which led her to believe the story was not coming from a woman’s point of view.
Hajratwala stated; “The faked lesbian sex scenes turn my stomach. The narcissistic writing, the sprinkling of quotations from the Koran and tidbits from Syrian history, the stock stories compiled from a thousand news clippings — it all seems painfully obvious. So I find myself among the countless people — among them journalists for many (though not all) of the world’s most respected news organizations — who today are kicking themselves for believing, and trying to help.”
MacMaster went so far as to say his alias had been kidnapped, alarming his many followers of his blog, “Gay Girl in Damascus.” MacMaster made his tales of fake woe available for download. His sympathizers are none too happy to find out his true identity and place of origin.
MacMaster has gone so far as to threaten Hajratwala for copy right infringement. Hajratwala had published a few excerpts from the faulty blog in her own, believing she was helping a fellow female.