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.
The 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.