This attention you brought forced me back to the closet on all the social media websites I use; cause[d] my family to go into a frenzy trying to force me back into the closet and my friends to ask me for phone numbers of loved ones and family members so they can call them in case I disappeared myself. … You took away my voice, Mr. MacMaster, and the voices of many people who I know.
To bring attention to yourself and blog; you managed to bring the LGBT movement in the Middle East years back. You single-handedly managed to bring unwanted attention from authorities to our cause and you will be responsible for any LGBT activist who might be yet another fallen angel during these critical time[s].
A reader has a very different take:
Why do we have to see this as paternalistic, Orientalist, or exploitative?
Is the blogger guilty of making a simplistic caricature of an educated, conflicted, articulate female homosexual struggling with the drama in Syria? Can the gay community condemn this portrayal simply on the grounds that it is fictionalized? The reader that the blogger himself was somehow sexually aroused by his the ability to act this persona, in the same way that men on chatrooms pretend to be female in order to exchange pictures or talk dirty … frankly that's absurd, and even a cursory reading of the material on the blog makes the claim ludicrous.
Criticism can be leveled that by creating a narrative reality about Amina, the blogger wasted the serious efforts of real people to try to rescue her, support her, etc. I suppose criticism can also be leveled that it is possible that the Syrian authoritities may have cracked down on certain circles in order to silence this voice. The latter could be true, but one can hardly imagine that the regime needed excuses for brutality; and anyway, such a position seems to indicate that it's favorable to repress political speech for fear of bloodshed. Which allows the regime to win.
The former seems hardly to matter in the last analysis; how many peopel were brought to a heightened level of awareness, were educated, were involved in some way in becoming active in the struggle for Syria because of this blog? That is, after all, what the blogger himself seems to have set out to do – why can't we believe him? – and I believe he has succeeded. To be bitter about the hoax is to miss the point.
On the eroticism question, Amina/Tom's recent poem, "Testimony of Jasmine," is worth pondering. Money quote:
We push and we pant
Your sex is so soaking
I delve and devour
And mine it is shaking