Caribbean | Cayman Islands | Crime | Kiss | News

Cayman Islands Police Arrest Massachusetts Man for Gay Kiss

Aaron Chandler, 23, from Amherst, Massachusetts, was arrested in the Cayman Islands last week after kissing his partner on a dance floor. The arrest was preceded by two confrontations with an unidentified local who asked them to stop what they were doing.

ChandlerThe Cay Compass reports: "About a half hour later – about 11pm – an unidentified woman approached the two men and asked Mr. Chandler to follow her to meet a friend. The friend turned out to be an off–duty police officer. 'He told me he did not want me to show public displays of affection,' Mr. Chandler said. 'He said it was against the law for two people of the same sex.' Mr. Chandler said he kissed his partner again, just before his party was going to leave the Royal Palms. 'The officer grabbed my wrist and told me he was placing me under arrest.' Mr. Chandler said a crowd of people – some tourists and some residents – followed the police officer while he was leading him away. 'They were asking him why he was doing this and one asked how he could do this in a British territory.' The officer called a superior, who arrived about five minutes later, Mr. Chandler said. On the way to the George Town police station, Mr. Chandler said the superior officer told him the 'law was stupid' but that he had to enforce it. Once at George Town Police Station, Mr. Chandler was made to wait to speak to an inspector. The inspector never came, but the original officer came back and gave him a stern talking to, telling him he didn’t care what he did in private, but that he could not kiss his partner in a public place. He attempted to make Mr. Chandler promise not to kiss his partner in public again and then released him."

Said Chandler: "I do display affection when I’m with my boyfriend, publicly. “It’s never anything most people would consider obscene however; usually it’s in the form of holding hands or a quick kiss."

The Caribbean has never been a safe place for gays and lesbians. While I certainly sympathize with Chandler's situation, it's important to remember that displaying same-sex affection can get you much worse than an arrest. Be careful out there.

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. Wow, what a cutie! I'd be willing to go to jail for a smooch from this one!

    Posted by: kenneth | May 5, 2008 4:58:36 PM


  2. What a handsome guy.

    This kind of thing just pisses me off royally. Why do gay men go to the caribbean? I can understand patience when it comes to random anti-gay attacks, as those can happen anywhere... but when it comes to places where institutionalized persecution is in place, I can't fathom why we'd spend our time and money in a place like that. Maybe what we need is a little more aggressive marketing to let the wider community of GLBT and straight consumers know about this.

    Posted by: The Milkman | May 5, 2008 4:59:22 PM


  3. I agree ANDY -- when he says "most people" wouldn't find it obscene, that does not apply in a foreign country. And it is so easy to forget when travelling, even to resorts, that other countries have different laws! My hubby and I always check in as friends and get twin beds. The one time in South America we asked for a single King bed, the woman assured us we were mistaken, we must have meant 2 beds. I am Out and proud, but you do have to In yourself when traveling, for your own safety.

    Posted by: Strepsi | May 5, 2008 4:59:45 PM


  4. This kid, seriously, might very well be lucky to still be alive. What's he gonna do for an encore, go to Saudi Arabia, visit a mosque and barbeque some spare ribs?

    Americans are WAY too arrogant to think that we can go to any country and flaunt their local laws and customs just cuz we're American.

    But Hell, even an American cop might have roughed his punk ass up if the cop said "Don't do that" and the kid turns right around and does it.

    The real story here - "Spoiled Amherst Student(?) Learns Other Coutries' Law Enforcement Won't Coddle him like Mommy Does."

    Posted by: MikeinSanJose | May 5, 2008 5:00:13 PM


  5. I have to agree and disagree with Mikeinsanjose on this one. A lot of countries have a lot of weird laws (many common meds prescribed in the US are banned in the middle east.) and I think he made a foolish choice.

    However, I disagree with the comment about a US cop roughing him up. His behavior isn't illegal here. The police enforce the law, not make the law. Yeah he might've be roughed up but there is no way that it is acceptable for a cop to use his authority to enforce his personal beliefs.

    Posted by: Ed | May 5, 2008 5:10:43 PM


  6. Thank you for posting this and validating my concerns.

    My partner and I are trying to redeem our Aveda Pure Privilage points, and a european destination was always on the website, now only Jamaica is available, and we refuse to go because of how homophobic the Caribbean is.

    Posted by: Eddie | May 5, 2008 5:12:59 PM


  7. "The Caribbean has never been a safe place for gays and lesbians."

    Well, that's a bit over the top. I have been to the Virgin Islands twice and had a lovely trip both times. I hear Puerto Rico is very gay friendly.

    Posted by: crispy | May 5, 2008 5:16:18 PM


  8. Which part of his situation did you sympathize with, Andy? The part where he didn't check on the laws of a foreign country before he visited, or the part where, when explicitly informed of those laws, he still chose to violate them and then whine about being arrested when he did so?

    Posted by: Scott | May 5, 2008 5:18:52 PM


  9. With all due respect to those talking about how he "didn't check the local laws" I would have assumed - as no doubt he did - that a British territory would have human rights laws reflective of those in Britain. I mean, I'm certain that US territories can't make laws that violate the US constitution and I imagine that the Caymans can't make laws that supersede those of Britain proper.

    And I'm not even sure from this account if it actually was illegal - they certainly didn't charge him with anything.

    But I'll agree that its always stupid to continue doing something that a cop tells you not to - especially abroad.

    Posted by: ryan | May 5, 2008 5:26:50 PM


  10. The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory, basically still a colony of the UK, with a governor appointed by London. You would expect better treatment of gays there than in the rest of the "independent" Carribean. I am all for a tourist boycott of these bigoted islands. How many straight spring breakers do you think they arrest for lewd behavior?

    Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands fall under American law so you are as "safe" there as you would be in the US.

    Posted by: jjh | May 5, 2008 5:28:45 PM


  11. I have to say that I am saddened at the vitriol aimed at this guy for daring to go to the Cayman Islands at all as a proud gay man. No matter the wisdom of his vacation spot choice, we should all still be outraged that he got arrested for a kiss in a place that is so frequented by Americans (this is not Nigeria or Saudi Arabia!).

    Why not vent your vitriol in a better place:

    http://www.caymanislands.ky/legal/contact.aspx

    Tell them that you will tell your friend not to choose the Cayman Islands.

    Posted by: jjh | May 5, 2008 5:43:10 PM


  12. Well we can't lump all the caribbean islands as homophobic. Yes we have Jamaica and now the Cayman Islands, but Puerto Rico is one of the gay friendlier islands.

    Posted by: Eddie | May 5, 2008 5:43:50 PM


  13. Why can't Americans every obey the laws of other peoples lands?

    Posted by: Rual | May 5, 2008 6:04:25 PM


  14. Mr. Chandler was certainly naive since it's not exactly a secret that the Cayman Islands aren't gay-friendly. As Andy pointed out, he's lucky his naivete got him a slap on the wrist instead of physically harmed, or killed.

    But I do sympathize because we SHOULD be able to kiss our partners in a place that is happy to accept our tourist $'s. We SHOULD because heterosexuals don't have to think twice about it. But the fact remains that same-sex PDA's can still get you in big trouble, and not only in the Caribbean. It's equally naive to think that our kisses couldn't be "punished" even in the gay-friendliest of places.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 5, 2008 6:21:37 PM


  15. Well, the point is, the went to someone else's "house" and got corrected for his behavior at least twice before he ever spoke with the police. When he did speak to the police, they again gave him a simple verbal admonition, at which point he decided to do the exact thing he had been reprimanded for 3 times already.

    It doesn't matter, particularly, WHAT the law was that he was breaking. It seems to me they did everything in their power to give him a slap on the wrist, but he just kept pushing it. He quite simply showed an appalling lack of respect for the Caymans and their laws. He has no ground to stand on and complain about being treated unfairly.

    Posted by: MikeinSanJose | May 5, 2008 6:23:55 PM


  16. AVOID THIS BACKWATER ALONG WITH NEARBY JAMAICA BAHAMAS(UNLESS ITS A PRIVATE ISLAND AND YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE) AND BARBADOS ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE ANGLOPHONE SPEAKING CARIBBEAN.

    IF YOU STILL WANT TO GO TO CARIBBEAN, THERE'S PUERTO RICO, DUTCH SABA "THE UNSPOILED QUEEN OF THE CARIBBEAN" AND THE OTHER TWO DUTCH PROVINCES WHERE DUTCH LAW HAS TO BE OBSERVED. AVOID ARUBA-CURACAO-ST MARTIN. THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN HAS SOME PRETTY SAFE SPOTS AS ROATTAN ISLAND IN HONDURAS I HEAR HAS SOME GAY OWNED PLACES.

    THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO BOYCOTT THESE DEVOLVED PLACES AND NOT TO WAIST OUR HARD EARNED MONEY IN THEM AND TO ALSO LET IT BE KNOW TO OUR FRIENDS,FAMILY AND JUST BASICALLY RATIONALLY GOODHEARTED PEOPLE WHAT THE PEOPLE WHO INHABIT THESE ISLANDS ARE ALL ABOUT.

    MR.CHANDLER AND HIS BOYFRIEND WERE MORE THAN LUCKY TO NOT HAVE SUFFERED ANY BODILY HARM. -AVOID THESE PLACES PLEASE PEOPLE, LIFE IS JUST TO PRECIOUS GUYS TO BE ENDED AT THE HANDS OF THESE BIGOTS!

    Posted by: Churchill-y | May 5, 2008 6:27:39 PM


  17. Also important: To avoid the caps lock key.

    Posted by: crispy | May 5, 2008 6:36:47 PM


  18. FOR GOODNESS SAKE Eddie AVOID THAT HELL HOLE.
    IF IT COMES TO THAT AND NO VACATION CHOOSE YOURS AND YOUR BOYFRIEND'S LIFE!

    Posted by: Churchill-y | May 5, 2008 6:37:32 PM


  19. As noted, the Caymans have a long, well-known history of being antigay. They turned away a gay cruise quite a few years ago, refused to apologize, and finally got a new tourism minister who promised to improve the environment. I would still never go; it was a pro forma apology that basically said, Oops yeah we will take your money after all.

    I don't have much sympathy for this kid. My ex and I were dancing with friends at a Holiday Inn bar in Fredericksburg, Virginia (we were there for my best friend's wedding), and everyone was encouraging us to dance together. Well, we did, and received several threatening comments and even more hateful looks. I would never dream of doing the same in the Caribbean. He and I also traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands a couple times, and you have to be damn careful there, too---U.S. territory or no.

    Another point this story drives home is how differently a 23 year old gay man from a tolerant state views the world. He's probably experienced very little fear, discrimination, or other negative repercussions that come with being gay, and that older posters on this site are all too familiar with.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 5, 2008 6:39:12 PM


  20. As out and proud as we might be at home, we must be careful and respect those same laws and customs of the places we visit. Don't make assumptions about other countries. Homosexuality and same-sex relations are still illegal, prohibited and frowned upon in many places.

    Fight and lobby for global gay rights, but not while on a foreign vacation.

    Posted by: JTluvr | May 5, 2008 6:48:11 PM


  21. A/ I LIKE THE CAPS LOCK KEY.

    B/ WHAT AN ARROGANT LITTLE PUTZ. GO TO A FOREIGN, BE GIVEN WARNINGS THAT A LOCAL PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE RECEIVED, THEN DISHONOR A POLICE OFFICER IN FRONT OF OTHERS PEOPLE. WHAT DID HE EXPECT? I KNOW HERE IN LAS VEGAS YOU WOULD ROUGHLY TOSSED IN CRUISER WHILE TIGHLY HANDCUFFED.

    STUPID. ARROGANT.

    Posted by: dw314 | May 5, 2008 6:49:45 PM


  22. The Carribean area MUST be boycotted.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 5, 2008 6:59:46 PM


  23. I wonder what would happen if a straight Cayman Islands couple were to be arrested for PDA in Manhattan or Miami? Probably cause an international incident. Didn't Queen Elizabeth bitch about the treatment of gay people in her colonies before?

    The main thing gay tourists need to remember is that if the residents of your tropical destination are overwhelmingly black, don't do any PDA. Straight blacks are vile enough in areas of the US states where they have too much power; down there, like Jamaica, they shoot to kill and celebrate their so-called moral superiority in song. I used to love reggae and soca music; now I can't listen to it for fear of realizing what they're probably singing about.

    Posted by: matt | May 5, 2008 7:11:18 PM


  24. To the moron who keeps posting that Americans need to respect the laws of other lands: GFY!

    It is no human being's right to tell another human being who he or she can kiss or hold hands with...Same sex kissing is not the business of anyone's to reign over....yes, there is discretion and good taste, but to think that the world still has laws, yes, laws against two people kissing while we bomb, murder, and destroy other humans on a daily basis tells you just how strongly madness has its grips on the world.

    To the Cayman Islands and any other place still too stupid and backwards and ignorant to actually outlaw any kind of consensual love and affection: GFY!

    Posted by: bryand1 | May 5, 2008 7:30:59 PM


  25. Wow, just when you think this thread can't get any worse, the KKK shows up.

    Matt, please kill yourself so the world can continue to evolve.

    Posted by: crispy | May 5, 2008 7:34:15 PM


  26. 1 2 3 4 »

Post a comment







Trending


« «Towleroad Guide to the Tube #284« «