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Melanie Nathan: LezGetReal’s ‘Straight Man’ Lie scandal continues

We just lost two lesbian voices in the LGBT movement.”
joked your blogmistress at Netroots Nation 2011, when asked to comment on the unfolding LezGetReal “fake lesbian” scandal.

In what was one of the more surreal online moments of 2011, two “lesbian” bloggers were exposed to be straight men — one pretending to be a Syrian blogger who was kidnapped, and the other the proprietor of the blog LezGetReal. The dustup was so outrageous that it made the WaPo:

Just one day after the author behind a popular Syrian lesbian blog admitted to being a married, American man named Tom MacMaster, the editor of the lesbian news site Lez Get Real, with the tag­line “A Gay Girl’s View on the World,” acknowledged that he is also a man.

“Paula Brooks,” editor of Lez Get Real since its founding in 2008, is actually Bill Graber, 58, a retired Ohio military man and construction worker who said he had adopted his wife’s identity online. Graber said she was unaware he had been using her name on his site.

Brooks’s identity came under suspicion after news broke that a woman called Amina Arraf on the blog “A Gay Girl in Damascus” might not really be a Syrian lesbian.

Caught in the crossfire was Melanie Nathan, an actual lesbian who was writing for LezGetReal. She left the blog prior to the blow up and has just broken more newsScandal Continues as Shamed Lesbian Blog Continues the ‘Straight Man’ LieLezGetReal is not a Gay Gal’s View of the World it is still Bill Graber’s View of the World.

The lie did not die -nor did it snooze- it has been and is perpetuated by the continued involvement of Paula Brooks, aka Bill Graber in Lezgetreal’s operations.

The so called gay gals of LezGetReal may not be so gay after all!  LezGetreal’s team currently comprises of Linda S. Carbonbell, aka LaVictoire, aka MacBride and her “daughter” Bridgette MacBride, aka LaVictoire, and here comes the big surprise Mr. Bill Graber, aka Paula Brooks.

…If you want to read more on the scandal please read it at this link–  but do not let me take you from these fine pages as I remind there is more to tell…

The writer/s for Lezgetreal: Linda Carbonell is supposedly a straight woman and mother of Bridgette, who  identifies as the forever virginal transgender lesbian.

The  ownership of Lezgetreal – the website currently asserts “………………. I, Bridgette, am the owner, and yes, I am a lesbian transsexual and intersexual.  So, please enjoy your stay here at LezGetReal. We do not always agree with those around us, but we are reminded all the time of something that Terry Pratchett once said “Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.” Thanks a lot for taking the time to visit and we hope that you come back again soon.”

Behind the Scene Partner: Now we have Bill Graber the self identified heterosexual man, living in Ohio, supposedly with his heterosexual wife whose name, he says, happens to be Paula Brooks, who had no idea she was being used by her hubby to feign lesbian political blogger activities and who knows if even that is real.

Some months ago Bridgette LaVictoire, who now claims to own LezGetReal, after the explosive exposure of the Paula Brooks lie, confessed to me in a written communication that Bill Graber is still working with her on the site. She told me at the time that she had been in love with “Paula Brooks,” and that she really needed the newly revealed Bill Graber, as she was not emotionally able to let go and run the site without him.

Melanie goes on to report that she has chats with Graber and has received phone messages from him that indicate he still considers LezGetReal “his site”, despite public denials.

All I can say is that this blog needs to shut down and rebrand with a more accurate slate of its operators. The update below, leaves the operation/editorial control/ownership of LGR as a matter of dispute between Nathan, and Bridgette LaVictoire and Bill Graber.

What I don’t understand is the need to blog as something/someone you are not when there is no need for secrecy or anonymity. The power of influence as a straight ally, for instance, is sorely needed, yet Graber and Co. don’t get how unnecessary and damaging this charade was — and apparently still is.

This is about duplicity in reporting (not about Graber and whatever personal issues he may have), and only serves to reflect badly upon bloggers who work under pseudonyms for legitimate reasons, and places bloggers generally in the position of having to defend citizen journalism, since the veracity and quality of our reporting is always under scrutiny and often dismissed by traditional journalists.

UPDATE (12/28): As expected, there has been a response from both Bridgette LaVictoire and Bill Graber and they dispute Nathan’s charges, with LaVictoire weighing in below in the comments and Graber via email and phone call to the Blend. In what is an unwieldy pissing match of charges and counter charges, it’s pretty clear that no one will ever be on the same page.


Graber asserts in an undated copy/paste email that Nathan was “separated” from LGR for myriad reasons, along with a host of explanations of editorial disagreements and internal conflict over the site’s finances and retention of contact information (as I said, it’s unwieldy) that has little to do with any 2011 pseudonymous reporting on LGR and more about the conflict among the principal figures running the blog.

Graber also included a long chat transcript with Nathan about the above-referenced Lisa Miller scandal. Again, it reveals little about the larger LGR scandal of multiple instances of pseudonymous reporting.

Lastly, nothing about the reporting itself on LezGetReal was in fact, damaging to the LGBT movement, something I previously blogged about — it was the unnecessary deception about who was blogging and reporting. Much of the commentary and reporting resonated with segments of the community, though political disagreements about the content, like any political blog, were present as well.

Melanie Nathan has been contacted for comment.

Bridgette LaVictoire and Bill GraberBridgette LaVictoire and Bill Graber
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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding