“Lez Get Real” Editor Paula Brooks is Actually a 58-Year-Old Man in Ohio

Wow, so! Paula Brooks, the pen name for the editor of “Lez Get Real,” who I and many other gay journalists have undoubtedly spoken with via the internet, is actually 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.

So if you’re wondering how he ended up having the “Gay Girl in Damascus” write for Lez Get Real without ever speaking on the phone, it’s because he couldn’t speak on the phone either!

He told the press: “I didn’t start this with my name because… I thought people wouldn’t take it seriously, me being a straight man.”


From day one on Autostraddle we required everyone who wrote here to use their real photo and ideally their real name. We didn’t see how we could encourage girls to come out and be themselves if we weren’t living that way ourselves. We’ve since made two exceptions (for contributors), but this is a very sensitive community, and treating it like a little role-playing game for guys who are just really super passionate about lesbians? (read: lesbian sex) — no. Just no.

This is the best part:

“In the guise of Paula Brooks, Graber corresponded online with Tom MacMaster, thinking he was writing to Amina Arraf. Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian.”

This is the worst part:

“Graber hoped the truth of his identity would not hurt the site he had built or set back the causes of the gay and lesbian community. He said he plans to give the site to LaVictoire to run.”

Look you wanna be an ally? Be an ally. Be a straight white man ally. We need more of you. Hell, even go ahead and start The Encyclopedia of Lesbian Movie Scenes like another straight guy did — but the ELMS straight guy NEVER LIED ABOUT IT.

You know what? INVEST IN ACTUAL LESBIAN MEDIA. DONATE TO OUR CAUSES! Lots of straight men do donate to us, and we fucking love them. THAT COULD BE YOU!

But this?


No thanks.

HEY LYING DUDES! The internet is the ONE FUCKING PLACE where so many gay girls can feel safe being who they are — unlike real life, where they are often silenced.

Something you wouldn’t know ANYTHING ABOUT, you fucking middle-aged white guy.


How dare you, Tom MacMaster, write about being an out lesbian of color in Syria when you are a privileged MARRIED white man who can travel and study wherever you damn well please and are a citizen of America, a country where you, as a straight cisgender white man, have more privilege then we’ll likely obtain in our lifetimes.

How dare you, Bill Graber, write about our struggles for gay marriage as if they were your own when you’re happily married to a woman. How dare you write about DADT as if it was your own struggle when you’ve had a storied, unprejudiced career in the military. How fucking dare you. You’ve done a disservice to not only your community but to the ACTUAL LESBIANS who are writing for your site every day, too.

Be honest or go the fuck home. That lonely lesbian in the midwest deserves better.

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2851 articles for us.

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