Gay US couple to be deported after calling Bali 'queer friendly'

Gay US couple to be deported after calling Bali 'queer friendly'
Gay US couple to be deported after calling Bali 'queer friendly'

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - An American woman and self-described digital nomad Kristen Gray looks on after being examined at the Indonesian Immigration office in Denpasar, Bali January 19, 2021 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. ― Antara Foto pic via Reuters

DENPASAR, Jan 21 ― A gay American couple is being deported from Bali after viral tweets that called the Indonesian resort island “queer friendly”.

The firestorm started when Kristen Gray tweeted over the weekend that she was enjoying “an elevated lifestyle at a much lower cost of living” after moving to the island from Los Angeles with her girlfriend.

Praising the benefits of Bali, she said it was “queer friendly” and home to a “black in Bali community”.

She also promoted an e-book she was selling that told people how to bypass strict regulations barring foreigners from visiting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice official Jamaruli Manihuruk said Gray and her partner would be sent back to the US as she was “suspected of having intentionally disseminated unsettling information” about Bali.

Gray, however, insisted she had not committed a crime.

“I am not guilty... I am being deported because of (being gay),” she said.

While same-sex relationships are not illegal in most of Indonesia, the country's LGBT community has faced growing pressure in recent years and their rights are limited.

Far from being supportive, the country's LGBT community accused her of being ignorant of their plight.

For most Indonesians in Bali, “this is not a 'queer friendly' place,” one activist said.

“Please know that the majority of us Indonesians are still deeply embedded in the closet because of the astounding homophobia we face on a daily basis.” ― AFP

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