Posts Tagged ‘social networking’
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Either very late last night or very early this morning, I was reminded of some consequences of the Ashley Madison data breach when Andrew from Facebook shared a Twitter update from one Adam Kushner. Tushnet shared the panicked Reddit post of an anonymous Saudi on Reddit who used Ashley Madison to hook up with other guys outside of his native country, and who now found himself scrambling to flee before he was arrested and executed. Things seem to be getting less bad at him, at least judging by his updates, but he is still left scrambling.
I am from a country where homosexuality carries the death penalty. I studied in America the last several years and used Ashley Madison during that time. (For those of you who haven’t been following the story, Ashley Madison has been hacked and its users’ names and addresses are on the verge of being exposed.) I was single, but used it because I am gay; gay sex is punishable by death in my home country so I wanted to keep my hookups extremely discreet. I only used AM to hook up with single guys.
Most of you are Westerners in countries that are relatively liberal on LGBT issues. For those of you who are older–try to think back to a time 10 or 20 years again when homosexuality was intensely stigmatized. Multiply that horrible feeling of stigma by a million, and add the threat of beheading/stoning. That’s why I used AM to have discreet encounters.
I BEG you all to spread this message. Perhaps the hackers will take notice of it, and then, I can tell them to (at the very least) exercise discretion in their information dump (i.e. leave the single gay arab guy out of it). As of now, I plan on leaving the Kingdom and never returning once I have the $ for a plane ticket. Though I have no place to go, no real friends, and no job.
UPDATE: I have gotten enough money to get car to Riyadh and a plane ticket to the US. I got a PM from a redditor who is in the Kingdom and a paralegal at a a major US law firm with an office in Riyadh (I will be traveling there this weekend). The firm’s has a big pro bono practice that specializes in refugees! And it is very pro LGBT; tor he redditis going to arrange for me to meet with an associate to explain my association. It appears I’m in good hands. I will let you all know more soon! It looks like I’ll be out of here in a few days with a concrete plan of action.
UPDATE: A bunch of people are accusing me of lying because ‘AM is only for married people.’ AM is actually about “discreet hookups,” and hence its main appeal is to married people, since premarital sex isn’t stigmatized in the West. But it also appeals to gays from regressive cultures, and their website has an option specifically for gays, as you can figure out if you do 5 minutes of research.
The idiots who claim I’m lying are projecting from personal experience, and forgetting that, for many gay people around the world, being outed is a life-threatening experience. The risks for us are greater than the risks for married Westerners cheating on their spouses. That’s why AM’s promise of discretion appeals to us. (Seriously, you think that there are no gay Muslims on there out of 37 million users?) In any case, that people would accuse me of being a liar on the basis of no evidence–at a time when I stand a serious chance of being tortured, murdered, or exiled–makes me pessimistic about humanity.
See also here.
Right now, I am tapping put this blog post while drinking a beer on a nice rooftop patio on Church Street. I am out, I am comfortably out, and I am now at a point where I cannot imagine not being out. It goes without saying that I cannot imagine a situation eatI be destroyed by others, literally and physically. I never feared that in my worst-case imagining before I came out. I simply cannot imagine that, and am so sorry other face this even now.
Do ding out that the hypocrisy of one-time American Christian poster boy Josh Duggar was a massive hypocrite was nice, I suppose. Then again, we knew that already, and we knew that when he was dealing with actual victims. (His young sisters were not consenting adults by any stretch.) Was an unneeded confirmation of this man’s hypocrisy actually needed, especially at such a cost to this man and others?
This also illuminates the ethical weaknesses of our current global society, the interactions of its inhabitants increasingly enabled by global networks even as the cultures of these particants remain divergent. In Canada, it would barely be worthy of mention if I was to hook up with guys using Ashley Madison. Canada, though, is not the world. William Gibson’s famous statement about the future being here already but unevenly distributed has taken on a new meaning for me tonight.