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.


  1. says

    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.

  2. Strepsi says

    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.

  3. MikeinSanJose says

    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.”

  4. Ed says

    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.

  5. Eddie says

    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.

  6. crispy says

    “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.

  7. Scott says

    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?

  8. ryan says

    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.

  9. jjh says

    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.

  10. jjh says

    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:

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

  11. Eddie says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. MikeinSanJose says

    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.

  14. Churchill-y says





  15. Paul R says

    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.

  16. JTluvr says

    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.

  17. dw314 says




  18. matt says

    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.

  19. bryand1 says

    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!

  20. crispy says

    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.

  21. Churchill-y says



  22. Oscar says

    Gays should stay away from the Caribbean.No country is safe for gays.Jamaica,the Caymans,the Leywards and all of them are backwater,biblethumbing egomaniac a**holes.Stay away from the Caribbean and the loss of the money will make them change their mind.When they do not get the tourist dollars, they will change their laws.

  23. Rafael says

    I read this article and it took me back in time, to memories I had long forgotten. I was 20 when it all happened. On an early afternoon my Greek boyfriend and I were driving around the city of Valencia in Venezuela. He worked for a chocolate factory and he took me along with him for a business meeting. Once the meeting was over we parted and shortly after we took off, we shared a quick kiss at an stop sign, as we sought the highway. To our surprise, we were followed and stopped by a cop. He told us that we had to go to the police station. We were young and scared so we followed through. Once at the police station, the officer told us that kissing was not illegal, but that since we looked “suspicious” he had to detain us until he could clear us. They went through our personal data and even our vehicle registration as if we were common thieves. But what really got to me, was when we stood in the courtyard waiting to be cleared. The entire police squad came out to check us out as if we were extraterrestrial specimens. I was so pissed to think all I did to deserve this was to share a kiss! 9 years have passed and apparently the attitudes towards same sex displays of affection is not changed one bit. How sad.

  24. MCnNYC says

    How pathetic you are Andy Towle!
    As you rake in the gay advertising dollars you should be outraged by this and yet you post this as if we all need to run back into the closet. “while you sympathise…”
    This is not IRAN this is the CAYMAN ISLANDS which the US has MAJOR investment dollars to use as a way to change things.

  25. matt says

    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

    Jamaica is mostly black and homophobic; so is Bermuda and the rest of the Carribean. Pointing out that crucial fact does not make me a member of the KKK or a racist. I am talking about straight people here, and the straight people who most hate gay people of all colors are BLACK.

    You are either an Obama-loving bleeding-heart liberal or a black man who cannot face the truth about your own people. Fuck, even Obama has said as much in his stump speeches.

  26. Kyle says

    Is it just me, or has the readership of Towleroad become more conservative over time?

    I can’t imagine that a well-adjusted gay man (i.e. liberal) would actually condemn a peer for expressing same-sex affection.

  27. Jason says

    Did anyone ever think the officer was trying to help him? He said himself that the law was stupid. Maybe he was trying to get some sense into the American before something worse happened.

  28. Sean says

    Oh, Matt. Where’d you pull this interesting little tidbit from? “…and the straight people who most hate gay people of all colors are BLACK.”

    The belief that blacks are homophobic above and beyond all other groups is nothing more than prejudice. It’s a prejudice, often rooted in the subconscious, that is predicated on the idea that to be non-homophobic is to be intelligent and “enlightened,” while those who are homophobic must necessarily be stupid and non-civilized.

    Those who harbor these beliefs aren’t necessarily “racist,” but you probably are.

  29. anon says

    Actually, in the middle east you could get away with holding your boyfriends hand in public because it wouldn’t violate local customs, though as foreigners you would be under the eye of suspicion at all times.

    Didn’t we all just see the 20/20 piece on kissing in Alabama, where the cop showed up and told the guys they shouldn’t kiss in public?

  30. John says

    If you’re from rural Texas and you commit an anti-gay ‘hate crime’ in Amherst…you don’t have the right to say:

    “Well, I’m from Texas. And we don’t have any legislation protecting homosexuals there, so I’m completely innocent”

    If you don’t like what a particular government does, you can always boycott the place. Nobody can force you to travel there against your will. But once you make the decision to visit, you should respectfully obey local laws.

    And quite frankly, I doubt an American cop would’ve been so patient. After being told at least three times to knock it off, Mr Chandler decided to keep on doing what he wanted anyway (on the assumption that Americans are above the law). This is ugly tourism at its worse. Inconsiderate, arrogant, and utterly clueless.

  31. Patrick says

    Matt, you need to open your eyes and take a deep, long look in the mirror. Have you noticed the complexion of who is running all those right wing groups pushing anti-gay marriage initiatives? I guarantee you that the people running Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America, writing for the National Review and the Weekly Standard, to working hard to take YOUR rights away as a gay man, not to mention Mr. Fred Phelps and his ilk are just as white as I assume you are. Idiot!

  32. rob adams says

    Yes, everyone, please conform whilst in the Caribbean and quietly put your sense of justice and reason away when arriving.

    Be good, tame queers when traveling abroad.

  33. Patrick says

    Hey Matt, and to all those others who are prone to make general statements about people based upon their skin color, here’s a quote from Mildred Loving. You might have heard about her. She’s the black woman who will likely do more to bring marriage equality to queer people than anyone on this site.

    Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

    I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

    She made that statement last year at the age of 67.

  34. Joshua says

    Mr. Adams…..just a word of advice….if you want to go to jail, or possibly be beaten to a pulp, or possibly hung for public displays of affection thats your right. But advising others to do that is stupid and arrogant.
    Laws are different everywhere you go, if you respect the culture and more’s of the place you are visiting you will most likely have a safe and fun holiday. But when you are warned, not once, not twice, but three times that a simple public kiss is illegal, take heed of that warning, don’t antaganise the local police. This guy is either a fool, very stupid or just an arrogant ass who isn’t smart enough to understand that most of the world isn’t Mass., and tolerant.

    Now that he knows, he can go home and hoin others here who condemn the policies and find gay rights groups in the Cayman’s or Jamacia and contribute to their cause to end these policies. Beats the hell out of bitching and moaning on a gay blog.

  35. Joshua says

    And those of you critising Andy for his comment. Get a life. He said nothing disparaging. He gave everyone a good piece of advice. We gays in this country and in some European countries think we are mistreated, well, most of you don’t have a clue what real mistreatment is until you have been arrested in Egypt or Iran or Belarus or Morracco. Or followed home from a gay bar in San Juan or Kingston by a group of rastafarians or hoodlums who beat you and rob you and maybe let you off alive.

  36. Cookie says

    I must say I’m surprised at the comments here. He did nothing wrong, and as long as he was in public in a civilized place (not a hole in the wall exploitation zone that some gay bars still are) he was right not to modify his normal behavior because of some creepy cop. We must stand up to bigotry everywhere! If my generation hadn’t we’d still be living in pre-Stonewall America reading about gay freedom in other lands. If gays with disposable incomes weren’t such consumerists we could seriously talk about having an effective boycott of the Caymans and Jamaica. Too bad THAT won’t happen anytime soon. When gay people live fairly normal lives in fundamentalist Christian strongholds like Lynchburg and Virginia Beach, which they do these days, it’s sad that some counsel cultural sensitivity for foreign bigots. It’s too bad Aaron Chandler chose to vacation there in the first place, but since he did, why dump on him for learning a lesson that we should all take to heart and act on. Tell your friends not to go, tell the government there that you’re doing that, and let them STARVE.

  37. John says


    As long as you’re interested in queer martyrdom, I invite you to go to Saudi Arabia and show those radical mullahs who’s boss.

    Do remember to bring your boyfriend. And don’t forget to makeout in front of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. You’ll have to disguise yourselves as Muslims to even get there. But since you’re going to meet Allah pretty soon anyway, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with violating a few more rules.

    Sexual minorities in Europe and North America are arrogant. They complain that anti-discrimination laws doesn’t include every imaginable little sub-group. They bitch about having to settle for civil unions / domestic partnerships instead of marriage. They whine about censored same-sex kisses on teleivision like it was worse than apartheid.

    Because, you know, not seeing two hotties have fake sex on friday night is much more horrible than Mandela spending 27 years in prison. Yeah, that’s totally the same thing.

  38. jason says

    I think we need to lead a worldwide campaign against the Caribbean, including boycotts. Hit them on the issue of the tourist dollar. Bob Marley, a famous native of the Caribbean, once sang “One Love”. One love, my foot.

  39. EvilEuropean says

    The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory. Basically what that means is that international relations and defence are handled by the UK, while domestic issues are decided by a locally elected parliment. The UK law has no legal standing. Look at the mess with financial regulations….the Cayman Islands one big tax haven.
    However, this does not mean that what happened in acceptable. There must be something the UK government could do. However, I find it strange that an island that is also dependent on tourism would want to scare of the tourists…and it seems that not everyone agrees with the law. It looks like that little homophobic police officer did not get his way.

  40. aaronj says

    When you go to any country that has laws, you obey the laws. You don’t pick and choose the ones that fit you and ignore the rest. If you cannot do so, you get punished.

    I don’t agree that Aaron had the right to do something that he was warned not to. That’s arrogance.

    In some countries, arrogance get you locked up for a long time. In other countries, it gets you dead. Aaron got lucky, this time. PDA in THIS country is frowned upon, how in the hell can you expect it to be tolerated elsewhere?

  41. says

    The kid is an arrogant idiot. No matter where in the world one is, even in the US; when a police officer says to NOT do something, it is wise to NOT DO IT. Proceeding to defiantly ignore a directive of a police officer, irrespective of one’s understanding of the law, will get one in trouble, no matter where one is…and, in some countries, could result in physical damage or even death. If one is inclined toward “civil disobedience” in one’s own country; so be it. Elsewhere, irrespective of one’s “assumption” of local law and custom. Just fuckin’ do what the officer says or pay the price.

  42. aaronj says

    EvilEuropean: “It seems that no everyone agrees with the law”.

    Know what the authorities in the Cayman Islands will say to that? “Tough sh*t”. Like Kile just said, civil disobedience in one’s own country is fine, and even our right. Ghandi is my hero, among VERY VERY few. But you don’t waltz into another country, NOT a US territory, and pull this kind of BS.

    I’m just glad Aaron got away with a stern talking to. He could easily be behind bars. He looks like a decent enough kid. Arrogance aside, of course.

    National Geographic is running a series, I think on Monday nights, about what happens to people who go against the grain of the law in another country. Not pretty.

  43. Mike says

    I agree that we should all avoid countries that are backwaters for inappropriate behaviour.

    That’s why I gave up my US residency 5yrs ago: I was sick to death of being unprofessionally treated by US border officials.

  44. Brandon says

    To Matt: I’d ask you to take a minute to think about why you feel that “black” people hate gay people the most. That lumps Ghanians with black people in the UK. It links a black person in France with a black person from California. Each of these individuals has a unique experience. I hope you don’t truly believe that everyone that has the same hue feels exactly the same as everyone else of the same hue. Perhaps you’ve had a negative experience and some of your comments are stemmin from that hurt. With that said, I ask how you would feel if people of a different race made blanket generalizations about you and your views. In my experience, black people (in the U.S. and everywhere else) are as diverse as any other population. However, it’s the unfortunate legacy of discrimination in the United States that often results in black Americans being lumped together and talked about as if one great collective. I work with two black women. One supports Clinton. One is leaning toward McCain. Using your lens, they’d have to be Obama supporters because all blacks are the same. In America, we don’t even talk about black people as individuals. That’s a tragedy because it means we miss so much about each other. I hope that you reconsider your thoughts on this matter. Peace.

  45. Derrick from Philly says

    CRISPY, SEAN, PATRICK & BRANDON: Thanks for speaking up.

    I too believe in boycotting homophobic, anti-gay vacation spots, whether in the Caribbean or Eastern Europe.

    I also believe in boycotting “vile” homos like MATT & CHURCHILL-Y. MATT: where is it that the “vile blacks” have so much power: Alabama, Mississippi, Texas or Vermont. Last I checked the places where blacks have some political power–the black mayors were all strong pro-gay rights. Here in Philadelphia, our “vile black” mayor has told the Boy Scouts of America that they can no longer occupy their building (very inexpensive property)rent free because of their anti-gay discrimination policies.

    What’s hilarious is that of all the conservative Towleroad visitors who posted on this thread, and who usually bring up “vile blacis”, OSCAR was least offensive–he didn’t even mention “vile blacks”. Bless you, Oscar.

    TOWLEROAD is unpredictable.

  46. Sebastian says

    Its not just the Caribbean with the hateful attitude, you have to use common sense and realize that its not always a good idea to kiss your man, even in many parts of the USA, you might get more than you bargained for.

  47. says

    God, the racism on this site’s comment page is absolutely disgusting. It’s not the site… it’s pretty much reflective of the American people (of which I’m one). You have to own it before you can fix it…

    I have a really hard time with the idea that this guy “should have respected the laws of a foreign country”. Yes, usually that’s true. But it was just a little peck, not a full-on live sex show in a local bar. I also don’t think we would be saying the same thing when it comes to other human rights issues… imagine if a woman traveler was arrested for not wearing a burka.

    Respect goes both ways. Yes, we need to respect the laws of countries we visit. But in countries whose economies are almost completely dependent upon foreign tourism, perhaps they can be a little more respectful of the cultural backgrounds of those people on whom their economy depends and not make such a big deal about a tiny little kiss.

  48. Sebastian says

    MILKMAN, the racists who abound here are to be ignored on any issue that has a black person in it, even a positive story thier rabid hatred pops up along with the racial slurs. I guess they seem to have forgot about the woman, whowas white in Alabama who called the police on the couple kissing in the park that was on this site a week or so ago and at last glance, Alamaba was part of the good old USA.

  49. churchill-y says

    Truth hurts doesn’t it Derrick from Philly and The Milkman |

    Do some research and find for yourselves who happens to be the most HOMOPHOBIC people in this country and proud of it!
    Go down the list of states where african americans find themselves in the majority and you’ll see how they deal with LGBT people. I won’t even start to name the countries because basically it’s all of them, the only reason South Africa is different is because their is a sizeable non-black population, otherwise….

    As a starting point you can educate yourself if your so inclined with this link

    It’s so easy to throw around word like racist when one has nothing to justify the hateful and often murderous behavior of these people.

  50. says

    Greetings from a queer in the Bahamas! And incidentally, I’m a Bahamian queer who happens to be acquainted with Chandler. Crazy, huh?

    This post and all of your comments address some things I’ve been preoccupied with ever since I returned home after living almost half of my life in the U.S.

    My (white American) partner has spent a good portion of time with me here. Before arriving, I explained how we would need to modify our behavior. Normally we hold hands and are generally very affectionate in public. But I wanted him to be prepared for the openly hostile environment here (as I recalled) as well as the very real possibility that I myself could slip into closeted behavior.

    Coming from this place, it’s all too easy to just revert to the meanness and performance of masculinity that’s so critical to survival. Years of activism and social justice work weren’t as handy in deprogramming me, I’m ashamed to say. I was most terrified of an accumulation of small, unexpected hurts: being simply introduced as “[Name]” or as ” a friend,” sometimes not at all. We talked about all of this ahead of time and prepared ourselves as best as possible.

    In the time I’ve been absent, however, things have changed. At a snail’s pace compared to other places, and most outsiders wouldn’t even be able to perceive it, but,
    change nonetheless. It gives me hope.

    Some thoughts:

    – Please don’t lump all of the Caribbean into one big monolith. There’s a huge amount of homophobia and hostility to gender nonconformity here, yes. But there are gay people who live here too. Queers who practice resistance and subversion in all sorts of ways that outsiders just can’t perceive. It may not be as visible, fast-moving or even what you consider as progress, but it’s there.

    – News item: street protests in the Bahamas at the pier when a lesbian cruise docks. What you may not know if you didn’t live here: 1) many Bahamians disapproved of the protests, 2) Bahamians like to complain but are very passive when it comes to changing something (i.e. we tsk tsk about the protesters who embarrass us, but most of us don’t even fathom that we can go out there and hold up a sign of welcome), 3) some people did go out to show their support for the cruise ship passengers, but they weren’t carrying signs or screaming “Go home!”

    – We all know the media doesn’t tell the whole story. I’m not best buds with Chandler and I don’t know what he was thinking when he got arrested. But I do know that he’s extremely active with gay rights and anti-racism work. That he’s involved with community, and like every single one of us who began forming a political analysis at a young age, perhaps prone sometimes to rashness and impatience when it comes to accelerating the change we want to see in the world. But I respect him. That’s all I know so I’ll reserve judgement of his actions and think more about the story that the media isn’t telling.

    – My parents still live here, and are part of a big community. A community like many others, that gossips and tears down even as it supports you. I have no problem being out. My parents are supportive of me. But when it comes to being out in front of their community members, they prefer I didn’t. Do I just visit then, out myself, then leave them behind to deal with the fallout from their community? There are other claims on my identity besides my sexual orientation (race, class, culture, gender and on) that have led me to the answer: No, I don’t just live my life being out without thinking about how it interacts with the other parts of me and the communities I belong to. Until there’s a greater analysis of gayness that includes these other factors, like immigration status and race, our dialogue and attempts at liberation lack the necessary force and integrity to make any real difference.

    – The Bahamas, like most Caribbean countries, is a very small place. Facing many of the same issues rural areas in the U.S. do. The same tactics that work in Big City U.S.A. won’t fly in rural America, just as they won’t fly in other countries with different cultures and laws. Refusing to visit is one thing I couldn’t blame anybody for, but if you really want to do more besides visit our beaches, contact the local government as JJH suggested in his link: The Bahamas has a Ministry of Tourism that isn’t deaf to the economic consequences of homophobia. Find local groups in the country who are doing the work. Don’t just be a tourist.

    – Don’t underestimate the positive effect that your mere presence can have on the people here, many of them those same queers who are struggling in various stages of silence. It demonstrates alternate ways of being, possibilities, that we don’t see too often outside of sensationalistic TV. You’re doing us a favor, even when we’re cussing you out. lol

    Somewhat related, but as a boy, I remember going to the beach and being fascinated by a pair of tourists I saw. There was no touching, but they spread their towels close to one another. Two men, speedos (of course). I couldn’t help staring. At their bodies, the undercurrent of affection I sensed between them.

    I’ll leave it at that for now. As I’ve been writing this,my partner has been telling me about all of the comments piling up over at Queerty as well. Gotta go read them. Don’t forget us queers in all these repressive countries, mkay? kthxbai

  51. MCnNYC says

    Sorry Joshua Sorry ANDY (not for posting this but for your sad lack of outrage–Hell you get more spit in your piss over the word “pansy”) so hey I guess the Lovings of Virginia should have just listened to you.

    They broke the law.
    They were arrested.
    They suffered.

    We all won.

  52. CHURCHILL-Y says



  53. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks, A CARIBBEAN QUEER: since some of us are discussing the behavior of people from other parts of the world, it’s great to hear from someone who’s actually from the places we’re discussing…actually it’s enlightening.

    This “vile black” is grateful for your input.

    CHRURCHILL-Y, you mentioned “states where african americans find themselves in the majority…”

    Would you please tell those poor “vile blacks” in Washington DC that you just granted them statehood. They need to elect 2 US Senators quick. It must be DC, CHURCHILL-Y, ’cause there’s no other state where blacks are anywhere near being the majority….unless you’re talking about Vermont or New Hampshire–they’re all over those two states…VILE!

  54. MCnNYC says

    Oh and ANDY one other reason Im pissed at your words…”while you sympathize….” and Want us to “be careful” they are a bit too weak and reek of victimization. A bit too “conservative” for my activist sensibilities. But then who knows maybe there are a few “travel companies” that advertise and you would not want to have them cut into your profits.

  55. CHURCHILL-Y says

    Derrick from Philly, have you ever heard of a library? an encyclopedia? a simple google search maybee?

    Can’t do your homework for you Hun! go to your nearby public school and seek some aid and the go on and advocate for your poor DC people.

  56. crispy says

    CHURCHILL-Y, you’re not intimidated because you are a coward who sputters racist propaganda from behind the anonymity of the internet. You’d get your ass whooped in the real world. And I’d help.

    Andy, I know you’re busy and you get thousands of comments each day, but would you please consider banning this filth?

  57. Derrick from Philly says

    That property occupied by the Boy Scouts of America is very EXPENSIVE property, I meant to say…well, expensive by Philadelphia standards. In Manhattan, it’s probably the same cost as a single parking space.

    CRISPY, I think CHURCHILL-Y thinks you’re black–he called you an Afrocentric (gasp!). I told you that that posting name of yours would get you into trouble. Well, glad to have you on board the Soooouuul Train, my “vile” brotha’.

  58. beachout says

    As a gay man living in the Cayman Islands, I can tell you the people are very kind and rarely show PDAs Straight or gay. The expats that live here, live here because it is very safe with very little violence and that goes for everyone. This boils down to a matter of respect, when you go to someone’s home you follow their rules. It is also against the law for women to sunbathe topless in The Cayman Islands, are we now sexist? I am from California and moved here two years ago, and I am amazed by the number of gays and lesbians that live here. We are a quiet group, but not a fearful group, we just respect the Caymanians way of life. In the end, there is far less gay bashing on Grand Cayman then San Francisco!!

  59. MikeP says

    I remember when everything we did was SHOCKING, even in NYC. But people get used to us with exposure. Instead of a boycott, make The Caymnan Islands the destination for a mass invasion of Homo’s and Lesbians. Have a queer kiss-in! What a hoot!

  60. MikeP says

    I remember when everything we did was SHOCKING, even in NYC. But people get used to us with exposure. Instead of a boycott, make The Caymnan Islands the destination for a mass invasion of Homo’s and Lesbians. Have a queer kiss-in! What a hoot!

  61. Ric says

    By these posts it is easy to see that we have still have not worked out the Black/White issue in our country, isn’t it a bit much to expect these backwards countries to be up to speed on the Gay Rights issue? Use common sense, you’re not always in Kansas, Dorothy!

  62. Sebastian says

    Well, Churchill-y, if we follow your logic, it would mean that gay white men are the most racist men of all, which is as much folly and nonsense as slur about all blacks. Child please, tolerance is the best way to deal with homophobia,and, lets start with the GOP in the USA, which is white and actually have the power to mess up all our lives, no matter what skin color.

    @Derrick, thanks for always finding the humor in some of these pitiful posters.

  63. beachout says

    Respect and understanding starts with Respect and understanding. You can not force your views onto others and expect them to smile and swallow. As people, we must educate ourselves about the places we travel to and respect that culture. Over time our respect will find their understanding.

  64. Caymanian and Proud says

    First of all the only side that is being considered here is the side of your fellow gay american. There is a letter in our local paper from an american who witnessed the entire event praising the officer for his actions as she was there with her young children. What ever happened to respecting another countries culture? we welcome anyone to our island as long as they respect our culture in public.

  65. Izland_Gurl_Chelz says

    U guyz need 2 realize dat here in Cayman dat we were brought up 2 know dat guyz r made 4 girls and it wud REALY b hard 2 perswade us (yes i am a 16yr old Caymanina gurl) to think differently…I however am tolerant of people, (cuz my mom and granneh tol me i must luv all and not to judge 2 quikly) and since i have been brought up like diz i keep my moralz.
    But I do not like seeing gay ppl making out in public…actualy i dont like c’ing people in general making out. (I don’t mean to disrespect any 1 that iz gay, itz jus my preferance.)
    But yea, If u wana make out i belive u shud do it sumwhere that iz appropreate. I also have 2 say dat sum of dez ppl here r hypocritical. Guyz here LUV c’ing gurl on gurl action, but dey kant take guy on guy, y’z dat…?
    N’ywayz, I hope all da best 4 u, God bless.
    <3 =)

  66. Aaron Chandler says

    I have read several comments on here which have said things about me varying from what I did being a set-up planned by me; to saying the incident was my fault since I did not stop after being asked by the RCIPF officer to stop; to saying I was insensitive to the officer and to the other patrons of the Royal Palms.

    My response to those letters:

    1) Regarding it being a set-up — it was absolutely not a set-up; I was behaving the same way I would have been behaving in the U.S. I was also behaving considerably less suggestively or “offensively” than many folks in the Batabano parade. To date, to my knowledge, no one has ever been arrested as a result of that parade.

    2) Regarding it being my fault that I did not stop after the officer told me to and me being insensitive to the officer — the officer MADE UP A LAW that does not exist anymore simply to detain me because of his own bigoted ideas of what is appropriate and what is not; the cop ILLEGALLY made up a law and lied to me. Who was being insensitive?

    3) Regarding me being insensitive to the other patrons — it seemed as if the vast majority of the patrons were either okay with or actively supported what my boyfriend, Kevin, and I were doing. In fact, about two dozen people cheered and applauded at the courage — some would call it machismo — we displayed as we kissed one last time.

    If the Morals Police want to return to the practice of criminalizing something as innocent as kissing and dancing (with all clothing on, mind you), what’s up next for criminalization? Two men or two women holding hands? Two men or two women giving each other a quick peck on the cheek? Two men or two women simply being around each other? Please.

  67. neon82 says

    excuse me… i live in Puerto Rico and i can personally attest to the fact that it is gay-friendlier and easier to be out and in the open here than in many parts of the U.S., even. I came out in ’01 to overwhelming support from family, friends and community and it is 100% safe to hold hands or kiss in public. Be more specific next time… Publicity and accountability are important, but its equally important to be careful and respectful of reputations that communities and individuals have worked hard to build.

  68. k says

    Totally agree with The Milkman comments. Keep your asses out of those uptight islands. As an Intl. Flgt.Attd. Ive been all over the world, for petes sake go to Europe or amsterdam The Carribean is the worst. Friends of mine went on an expensive All-Gay cruise 3100.00 which docked in the Bahamas where the gays and Lesbians threw a big hotel Party, After the 1st.strip show by a gay girl not even topless the police raided the party took all “Our family” and kept them locked up for 48 hours… fuck the Bahamas and Jamaica also. And stop going down to Jamaica looking for the biggest black dicks you can find, Not only will you be arrested but the lawbooks say its okay to stone Homosexuals… Get with it and keep your asses safe… I have said my piece……whoooo

  69. k says

    As much as I want to make this about color I will not, Most Island inhabitants (Locals ) are very poor indeed, A lot is jealosy..the locals want your fucking money but dont want you to kiss while having those expensive cocktails and in the Caymans those cocktails are $13.00 a pop even in the Dives. You are being ripped off, And one of your commenters is a fake. I’m not naming names…To Chandler you are just too fine to be detained sorry it happened to you…Peace.. although You are supporting their economy thru tourism they still feel that You are flaunting your riches, Next! Many straight uneducated Island people feel that since most gay men dont have children they have disposable income (Money to burn) that just falls off trees. And you must because when I was in Caymen (Not looking for Dick or flaunting my wealth) My american money was not worth anything and now its worse . Why even bother the only thing I could get at a normal price was the Rum (and that gave me a horrible Sugar-induced Migraine..Beware

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