I began contributing to the blog Lez Get Real in October of 2008. The site was run by two people Julie Phineas and Paula Brooks. According to the site I contributed 128 posts. The last time I chatted with Paula was in January. During this entire time I had no idea she was not who she said she was.
It has now come out in the Washington Post that 'Paula Brooks' is actually Bill Graber, a 58 year old straight man.
What the hell is going on.
Funny thing is I started to see people questioning is Paula was real after another lesbian blogger was found to be a fraud. I tried to pull 'Paula' up on chat last night but by the time I got a response I had gone to bed. This morning I just closed the window and headed off to work without a second thought. If only I had stayed up late last night I maybe would have been told the truth from Bill himself.
It's not like I hadn't talked to the actual Bill before. I just didn't know it. Since 'Paula' was a deaf woman if the situation called for a phone call it had to go through her Dad, Bill Brooks. I have spoken to "Mr. Brooks" 4 or 5 times in the last couple of years. I have his phone number. I called it today and got the voice mailbox for a Bill Brooks...a man that doesn't exist. This is how far this whole thing goes.
But it gets better.
When Lez Get Real started 'Paula' had a partner, Deb. Shortly after I joined the blog, Deb passed away from breast cancer. This story line was played out on the blog by 'Paula'. Of course we can't forget how horrible this all was for their toddler twins. So now we have widowed deaf lesbian taking care of twins all by herself with the help of a loving father. I must say, it is an amazing character. I certainly fell for it. Here is an example of one of the pictures I was sent of the kids.
I have deleted the picture that was here.
This picture was sent by 'Paula' asking what I thought of their new haircuts. Just a personal conversation with no solicitation from me. Now I just wonder, who the hell are these kids?
'Paula' and I developed an online friendship. It was easy, we were both passionate about LGBT rights, had kids, many things in common. We would chat often online about politics but also about our personal life. About a year after the fictional wife Deb died I got a chat from 'Paula' asking if I could help watch the site over the weekend because she and the family we going to spread Deb's ashes in the outer banks where they had lived.
The following is a record of a google chat between 'Paula' and I the next day
9:32 AM Paula: Debbie is gone
9:33 AM me: Wow
Paula: Out in the Ocean now
me: Not really sure what to say
Paula: nothing to say
9:34 AM me: I hope you can all find some peace today
Must be rough
Paula: tough day... yes
9:35 AM I do know this is all real now
9:36 AM and I don't know if I will ever have someone like her again
me: Well no one will take her place
9:37 AM But that doesn't mean someone won't be able to make you as happy
Paula: I hope so Kathy
9:38 AM but i feel so alone today
me: I am sorry
Paula: I sit here in this house
9:39 AM and I think she will walk through the door any monute
9:40 AM me: Can't even imagine
9:41 AM Paula: nor can I
9:57 AM Paula: This morning I asked Debs to put in the fi for us Tues
9:58 AM me: In the what?
Paula: Prop *8
9:59 AM me: Oh
Paula: if I know Debs she is the boss angel by now she was a pilot already had her wing
me: Lol I like that
Paula: so did not have to go through training
10:00 AM me: Boss angel
Paula: if nothing else I am sure she is St Micheals number 2
she was a fighter
10:01 AM me: Lol
Paula: he would like that
if she can manage it she will help Tuesday
10:07 AM me: We need it
10:08 AM Paula: hey if you can sometime today light a candle ok?
10:09 AM me: Ok we will
This was two days before the decision to uphold Prop 8.
This is my problem. Why have this conversation? If you are just doing this to blog as an activist to help the LGBT community then why create personal relationships like this. I did not start this conversation. I didn't ask if 'Deb's' ashes had ever been spread somewhere. Why not just keep it business - "Hey Kath, I am taking the weekend off so can you watch the site?" I don't need some big fabricated lie to help out. I was already helping so how hard was it to ask.
There are many more conversations of this sort that google saved for me. What a joy to look back and see all the lying.
I think this guy liked being 'Paula.' He liked creating this world and living in it. Maybe it was better than his reality. I don't know. But I do know this. He owes me an apology. I know this because the only word that I can come up with to describe how I feel is violated. I don't care what his original intentions were in starting this masquerade as a lesbian blogger the bottom line is he took this way beyond being a blogger. He took this into relationships. He violated many people's trust by doing this and he needs to face the music.
He has my phone number and my email. I'm good with either one. I'm just waiting to see if he is man enough to call. Funny thing is, Paula would of had the balls to do it.
I just know that since I was there to help with the grieving of the dead wife I think it's the least he can do.
**** Updated 6/17/2011 - I did get an apology from Bill. Read about it here.