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Cayman Kisser Sends Island's Bigots into a Gay Panic

Chandler

The Cayman Island same-sex kiss incident that led to the arrest of 23-year-old Massachusetts resident Aaron Chandler earlier this month has apparently shaken the anti-gay hornet's nest. Chandler was arrested and detained by police after kissing his partner on a dance floor. The island's Tourism Director later apologized. But the whole brouhaha has bigot officials worried that the island's tolerance of the incident will lead pastors to be punished for spewing their hate, and cause same-sex couples to seek it out as a vacation spot.

CaymanSaid JP Julianna O’Connor–Connolly during her budget debate in the Legislative Assembly: "I must say that the news headlines of this past week…certainly have caused the conservative voters…to be a little bit leery. Assurances were given that these things wouldn’t happen…now we have this test case...What happens when we get an Order in Council saying we have to [legalize gay marriage]? If (visitors) want to see that they can go to Los Angeles or Second Street in New York…is this the kind of tourism we want in the Cayman Islands? Are we just inches away from telling our pastors that they can’t preach about this lifestyle? Or that they have to marry (same sex couples)? Once doubt enters in the equation that we have to pander to these people…then we are diminishing our faith in God. Each time, I get more and more concerned as I see a lack of commitment to these values."

In related news, it appears that the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism PR Officer is responding to letters of concern from potential visitors by cautioning that "while we absolutely do not discriminate against any race, gender or sexual preference we do sometimes feel uncomfortable with overt displays of intimacy."

In other words, be warned you may suffer the consequences should you decide to show any outward affection to your partner.

READ THE LETTER sent to one of our readers, AFTER THE JUMP...

***LETTER from CAYMAN ISLANDS dept. of Tourism***

Dear Mr. XXXXXXX,

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism with your concerns. I can attest that since 2001, the Cayman Islands has confirmed a policy of non-discrimination and continues to graciously receive all visitors to our shores. Recently an isolated guest complaint sparked speculation of our policy. This is unfortunate and I wish to confirm contrary to speculation no one was charged with any crime. The Cayman Islands is a hospitable and traditionally very conservative country. While we absolutely do not discriminate against any race, gender or sexual preference we do sometimes feel uncomfortable with overt displays of intimacy. Every year more than a million visitors call on our shores and most are intrigued by and respectful of our cultural differences. I can state with absolute conviction that the Cayman Islands welcomes all visitors to its shores as well as families, divers, single travellers and people from all walks of life, and will continue to do so. I do hope that you will reconsider your decision regarding visiting the Cayman Islands.

With warm regards,
Jo Gammage PR Officer

***END OF LETTER***

Gay kissers raise doubt [cay compass]

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Comments

  1. No Problem lady - Ill NEVER go to your Islands....Go EFF yourself, and stick a Palm tree where the sun don't shine...LGBT's Boycott!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | May 13, 2008 4:38:57 PM


  2. Aaron Chandler and Julianna O'Connor-Connolly: separated at birth?

    Posted by: JeffRob | May 13, 2008 4:44:46 PM


  3. Second Street in NYC? Is that some gay hotspot I haven't heard about, in my OWN backyard?
    I'm getting a little tired of all this religious bullshit, especially since THAT is a choice.

    Posted by: Fergus | May 13, 2008 4:45:40 PM


  4. Wait, I thought the LGBT community gets chastised for boycotting places that sanction hatred. Can we finally change course and refuse to go to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands??? Screw them.

    Posted by: jeff | May 13, 2008 4:52:49 PM


  5. OK my fellow homosexual brothers and sisters let us look at it this way --- $$$$ talk and it is a known fact that homosexuals have a larger dispensable income than heterosexuals, especially when coupled.

    So instead of supporting an economy that is wishy-washy or even would arrest someone for kissing the person they love start spending your money where the values that you hold dear are upheld.

    Not to over simplify my point but sometimes it seems that it is necessary.

    Would a black person send/donate money to the KKK organisation?

    If your answer is no, then tell me why so many homosexuals travel to Jamaica and pump their money into that economy...

    When I learned that a gay man had been drawn and quartered for being a "suspected" homosexual, by a mob and the government turned a blind eye - I refused to continue to sell any vacation that involved Jamaica.

    I will in now way, shape or form support that. To this day, with my new career, I will not have anything to do with Jamaica.

    There are lots of places to go with sand, sun, palm trees, blue oceans and cocktails that will either embrace you with open arms or simply accept you for who you are without batting an eyelash.

    Think about it!

    Posted by: turnipHed | May 13, 2008 4:54:32 PM


  6. When will the gay community wise-up and recognise that the safest island in the warm southern seas is Key West...for what that's worth. Any of the other Carribean or Gulf Stream islands are populated by backwards, homophobic locals who resent the "white foreigners" in the first place, and find a safe outlet in their rabid homophobia directed towards their G/L island visitors. Their cynical Bureaus and Ministries of Tourism might attempt to place a Smiley-Face over this ugly truth to appease the cruise operators and the international hotel chains, but the reality is quite different.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | May 13, 2008 4:55:31 PM


  7. So let this little piss-stain of an island cling to it's bigotry. Don't give them your time or money.

    Posted by: Roscoe | May 13, 2008 4:56:32 PM


  8. Frankly, there has been a breakdown in parliamentary procedure here.

    The Speaker should've put an end to this the moment it became clear that Mrs. O’Connor–Connolly had absolutely no intention of talking about the budget legislation. Her comments are not germane.

    What does same-sex marriage have to do with the budget?

    However, she is a member of the opposition. So, her criticism of the Tourism Director was clearly designed as a slight against the government as "soft" on homosexuals. She obviously wants to stir up the homophobic backlash for political purposes.

    Posted by: John | May 13, 2008 4:57:55 PM


  9. Yeah, but Ted, Florida is turning out to be one of the least gay-friendly states in the nation (closeted gay governor notwithstanding). Why homos keep pouring money into Key West is beyond me. Save the cash support for San Francisco, P-Town, NYC, and other more progressive places until these bigots come around.

    Posted by: FL SUX | May 13, 2008 5:00:04 PM


  10. Julianna Oconnor Connolly looks as if she'd LOVE to go to the Dinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 13, 2008 5:04:05 PM


  11. "So instead of supporting an economy that is wishy-washy or even would arrest someone for kissing the person they love start spending your money where the values that you hold dear are upheld." @ Turniphed

    ---

    New Jersey has some nice beaches and we are doing our best in the Garden State to be gay-friendly...so come help get us out of debt!

    http://www.atlanticcitynj.com/gayfriendlyac.asp

    Posted by: Ed | May 13, 2008 5:08:43 PM


  12. Ugh, are we really gonna do the "all Caribbean islands are backwards and homophobic" thing again? Sure, Jamaica and apparently Grand Cayman are not gay friendly. Don't go there.

    But there are plenty of other islands in the Caribbean that are gay friendly and would greatly appreciate your tourist dollars. Or are you that fucking stupid that you can't do a little research before you spend money to go on vacation?

    Posted by: crispy | May 13, 2008 5:17:45 PM


  13. Instead of dissing someone who went to a homophobic Caribbean place (inadvertently?), Crispy, rather share your knowledge of which of which places are gay friendly there. In fact that could be a very good story/list, Andy, maybe a rating of 1-10 from anti-gay to gay-friendly... make it easy for people to avoid the haters and support those that support us.

    Posted by: CK | May 13, 2008 5:33:59 PM


  14. CK,
    To be clear, I wasn't dissing Aaron Chandler (AKA the Cayman Kisser, which I think is a hilarious nickname).

    I was referring to the commenters above and on other threads about this who group all of the Caribbean islands together because of this incident. That's as narrow-minded as people who presume all gay men cruise public bathrooms.

    Gay-friendly islands I've been to: St. Thomas, St. John, Grand Turk, and Puerto Rico.

    Posted by: crispy | May 13, 2008 5:51:01 PM


  15. Boycott Jamica
    BOYCOTT CAYMAN ISLANDS

    And lets call on our congress to close the tax loopholes in the Cayman Islands (YEAH YOU HALIBURTON)

    Viva Puerto Rico.
    Good to see ANDY not being so pollyanna/school marm on this issue any more.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | May 13, 2008 5:54:03 PM


  16. Thanks Crispy, good to have that info! My partner and I were looking for a place to go (warm, beaches, etc.), but have consistently ignored the caribbean because all we ever hear is of homophobic attacks and rhetoric there.

    However, in defense of those that blanket-label the area as homophobic, the places that are not discriminatory don't necessarily market anything to us (with the exception really of Puerto Rico as far as I know). Talk about a dream marketing plan for them right there... let's hope someone involved in that realizes it and actively courts our $$$... happy to support those that support us!

    And I am definitely a Jamaica boycotter here... the nasty little island can just sink away as far as I am concerned... along with their other slimy little homophobic cohorts.

    I do however feel a Puerto Rico vacation coming on... ;-)

    Posted by: CK | May 13, 2008 6:22:35 PM


  17. BOYCOTT...F**K THEM...porr hungry idiots...they live on shit and they eat shit...I WILL NEVER GO THERE TILL I'M TREATED EQUALLY OR EVEN BETTER than the treat themselves...I have my money and I can spend it elsewhere where we are safe and have fun with out worries....Thank you Andy =)

    Posted by: Bosie | May 13, 2008 6:41:22 PM


  18. There's a plague of homophobia in de islands and it needs treated. Eradicate it - start with the OConner creature.

    Posted by: deanpaul1 | May 13, 2008 6:48:38 PM


  19. OMG...isn't she pretty? She has more chins than a chinese phone book! No wonder she is so angry. She probably blames the gay guys for men not lookin at her ugly mug. Yikes, and if they look like that there, who would want to travel there anyway! :)

    Posted by: Greg | May 13, 2008 7:16:17 PM


  20. CAYMAN - MY ASS!

    Posted by: OC Trophy Wife | May 13, 2008 8:19:37 PM


  21. Hey guys have you ever thought I feel? Me a open gay caymanian!! I live here it's my home, YES WE HAVE A BUNCH OF A-HOLES IN POWER. Mr. Chandler with all due respect has done nothing for my cause, if anything he's made if worse, now before you all jump on me and tell me I live in a shell, let me explain "my agenda". I can only change one person at a time, my mother and close family respect me but I still don't do "anything" in front of them that I think might be disrecpecfull to them - including smoking a cigarette. Am I changing minds about gay people - I think so, people I know 10 years ago have a totally different perspective on things, and not because I forced them to accept my lifestyle. Now don't get me wrong, what Mr. Chandler went through was wrong and I was not personally there to witness the incident, however I still don't smoke in front of my mother, if you get my drift. Not all of the people of Cayman are bigoted, homophobic neanderthals. There are alot of great straight caymains here, I know, they are my friens. Don't bash till you walk in my shoes.
    Peace/Love/Harmony

    Posted by: sneezer | May 13, 2008 8:41:16 PM


  22. OK guys and girls, give us a little break here. I am gay and live and work in Cayman which is a little on the conservative side but slowly coming around.I agree Julianna is a stupid, ignorant closet case! We win them over one at a time! Now you do have to understand that Cayman has a population of 60,000, which is at least 1/2 is ex-pat from around the world.

    Now if I were going to a small southern town in the US, I don't think I would be kissing my girlfriend in the middle of town. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It's just a matter of respect. In time this will all change. Most people in Cayman are gay friendly they just don't want it in their face....yes I know that's a little old school but to be honest....I am not a big fan of any PDA straight or gay! Chandler was in a spot that has a wide range of people and ages from kids to seniors. It was suggested that he not kiss his partner a couple times.....I don't know, if I were in another persons country I would have just restrained myself.

    Love to all.....gay in Cayman

    Posted by: Boots | May 13, 2008 9:01:51 PM


  23. Julianna Oconnor Connolly looks butcher than K.D. Lang, Phranc and Lea DeLaria combined. Hell, that woman makes Hulk Hogan look like Diana Ross.

    Posted by: Hamp | May 13, 2008 9:41:25 PM


  24. I agree with posters who suggest that a bit of discretion and awareness of local mores is both polite and a useful survival method. There are times and places for a bloody go at the barricades but choices have to be made.

    Am I the only person to note the number of recent stories in which middle-class, Black professional women have behaved outrageously re: queer people? The school official who outed the lads is one, there was another, now this. Are they responding to all the foolish DL hype? Or did Jesse Helms perversely endow some secret fund to supprt them?

    Posted by: Gregory brown | May 13, 2008 9:54:35 PM


  25. I agree with posters who suggest that a bit of discretion and awareness of local mores is both polite and a useful survival method. There are times and places for a bloody go at the barricades but choices have to be made.

    Am I the only person to note the number of recent stories in which middle-class, Black professional women have behaved outrageously re: queer people? The school official who outed the lads is one, there was another, now this. Are they responding to all the foolish DL hype? Or did Jesse Helms perversely endow some secret fund to supprt them?

    Posted by: Gregory brown | May 13, 2008 9:55:38 PM


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