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Published on Jun 14, 2011
Amina Araf, blogging as "Gay girl in Damascus", gained a loyal following with her tales of life as a lesbian in a repressive country.
Fans all around the world campaigned for her release after it was reported she was abducted by Syrian police.
But NPR's Andy Carvin investigated further after Syrian sources told him Amina's story didn't add up.
It turned out that Amina was actually a 40-year-old American guy named Tom MacMaster.
The whole thing was a hoax. MacMasters' actions were roundly criticized by the LBGT community world wide ... including by Paula Brooks, a lesbian web editor ... until it was revealed Brooks was also a straight male.