Christina Engela's picture

Hoax = Bad Business

Hoaxes are more than just trickery and lies, they are damaging to our cause. Yes, at first they seem to generate lots of sympathy and support - but when people realize they have been "played" they turn very bitter and angry, and who can blame them?

The recent report of the Ugandan gay rights activist, whose severed head was discovered in a latrine, and his dismembered torso in a field, has now been reported as a hoax. This inflamed the international Pink Community because this country is currently a hot-spot of homophobia and transphobia, where a very possible Pink genocide looms over the horizon. And these days our communications are so good, that reports like this can span the globe almost instantaneously - making timeous verification virtually impossible. Often, by the time what seems to be a very credible report turns into a hoax, it is far too late.

Unfortunately, this is a tactic all too familiar to me - last year, the Rachel Roo hoax made world news, in which it was claimed a young trans-woman was brutally murdered in the US. Thousands of people, gay, trans and straight, posted angry, passionate messages on forums and activist websites all over the world, to protest a brutal hate crime that never happened - and the murder of a transwoman who apparently never existed.
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