Activist’s Cayman Scuffle Telling

Homophobia’s got a way of lasting the test of time. Massachusetts-based gay activist Aaron Chandler certainly learned that lesson this week.

The 23-year old wrote in from the Grand Cayman Islands, where he and some friends are currently on vacation. Chandler explained that he, his boyfriend and some gal pals went out for a night of dancing when a police officer broke up their party to reprimand Chandler for “showing public affection” with his boyfriend.

The men originally blew the copper off, but learned a lesson when, after they kissed again, the copper called for backup.

Now, before you get scared, Chandler wasn’t attacked or beaten or anything terrible like that. Instead, Chandler, who once worked on Seattle’s Commission for Sexual Minorities, received a taste of legal inconsistencies. From the homo’s mouth:

When the superior arrived, he picked me up and took me, in the back of his police car, to the police station here in Georgetown. On the way there, he confided in me that he believes that the law is stupid and a waste of time, but that he has to enforce it.

There are two problems here, one more severe than the other. First, the fact that sexual policing remains on the books in this British territory confounds, but doesn’t surprise. Gibraltar, another British overseas territory, maintains discriminatory age of consent laws. Former protectorates such as the Islands – and other sovereign lands – cling to Britain’s antiquated anti-gay laws.

Chandler wondered how something like this could happen, and it’s quite simple: overseas territories such as Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands and others have their own legal systems, which means they can have whatever laws they want. That’s the beauty of sovereignty.

The problem, however, arises when these regions refuse to evolve socially and, even worse, educate their officials on responsible policing.

While the United Kingdom does not have political or legal control over these regions, which are former protectorates, not colonies, the European nation does still bankroll many of these regions. And, if you ask us, the UK should flex its financial muscle a bit and encourage coppers and other authorities in its overseas territories to discard colonial-era attitudes. If apathy and confusion continue to dominate, well, we might as well be living in the 1800’s.

In the meantime, why don’t you give the Islands’ tourism bureau a call. They’re apparently very gay friendly and we’re sure they’d love to help things move along.

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  • Darth Paul

    How about just not going to such places? I have no desire to vacation somewhere that I have to be guarded to feel welcome. My $ will go to places and people who aren’t so small minded.

  • Geoffrey

    People need to learn when you’re in another country….it’s their rules, period. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the U.S. or that their policies are unjust…the fact is you’re in another country, and if you’re so stupid or brazen as to A: break their law, or B: display your true colors in a perhaps violently homophobic land…you might just pay a very terrible price and have no one to truly blame but yourself.

  • emb

    Or, Geoffrey, there’s the (C) option suggested by Darth Paul, and with which I concur: Don’t Go.

    I don’t feel culturally deprived by declining to spend my tourist dollars (such as they are) in places that don’t want me. That includes places like the Caymans, Jamaica, and Mississippi.

    While you’re absolutely right about the need to conform to another country’s laws and even cultural expectations while visiting, there’s no need to have to shove myself back in the closet just to sit on a beach that’s no different from a hundred other ones.

  • Matt

    All I can think of is his picture wearing the A&F shirt and I can’t believe Queerty didn’t comment on that.

  • todd

    I refuse to spend my money in homophobic backwater places. It may limit my travels, but so what? Why support biggoted places?

  • hells kitchen guy

    Who goes to the Caymans for pleasure? It’s nothing but a money-laundering backwater.

  • Charley

    Go to Cancun instead. Much more gay friendly than the rest of the Carribean.

  • Rob Moore

    I’m surprised any would go to the Caymans, the Bahamas, or Jamaica. The homophobia in these places is well documented and I thought widely known. It was just a few years ago that a gay cruise was not allowed to stop in the Caymans. I think the Bahamas also turned away the ship. Let these places rot. I hear the beaches in Belize are better anyway.

  • John

    Look at the Lonely Planet message boards. There are many gay westerners who travel to places like Baghdad, Dubai, and Damascus. For fun…

    White people are soooooo weird. Sorry, but we’re pretty much talking about white folks here. I mean, seriously, how many African-American same-sex couples would voluntarily pay $10,000 to “vacation” in Kabul?

  • Aaron Chandler

    In RE to John’s comment above, this is Aaron (the subject of this post). I’m not totally white; I’m mixed (black and eastern european Jewish), raised in a mostly-black family.

  • M Shane

    Tangentially, but of interest,is the fact that Britain, after WW2, prior to which they were one of the most prominent Empires in existence, they became aware that they havd not behaved that much differently from Nazi Germany in colonizing the world.

    Consequently they subsequently gave free rein to places like India,etc. not wanting to behave like Nazis anymore. The consequence of that was an almost seamless transition of imperialistic world dominance to the U.S. That is why contrary to our Constitution and the warnings of all conspicuous founders,e.g Geo. Washington.and Supreme Court rulings, we have invaded countries around the world and have approximately 860 military bases in 150 countries (none of whom want us.).
    The British were one of the few empires in history that did not fall due to Colonialism/imperialism & the necesssary militarism. Rome , the Ottoman empire, etc .virtually every imperialistic structure has decayed from with in. We spend approx.1 trillion dollars to maintain these, and should soon suffer the fate predicted for greedy folks like Americans. We have fought 30 wars since ww2 to gain conmtrol around.

    We have plenty of our our our Colonies: far more than everyone else put together

  • An Other Greek

    Honestly, for someone as current and tech-savvy as Aaron seems to be (…The 23-year old wrote in from the Grand Cayman Islands, where he and some friends are currently on vacation…), I would have to register my surprise that he even went there…

    No. 10 · Rob Moore phrased it well: Why even go there?

    Isn’t the Caymans’ homophobia very much on record??

    Besides being a homophobic place, the Caymans are an insidious tax-shelter, read: VAMPIRES! They take greedy American corporations’ headquarters and deny US of our just tax revenue.

    Why support the Caymans?

    having said that, I am sorry for Aaron’s experience, and wish the Caymans good luck on their road to modernity.

    I’ll be watching from a safe distance here at home, or from AN OTHER fabulous beach, ELSEWHERE.


  • rjp3

    Contrary to OUT Traveler and the rich folks who just dont care (and can afford to hide or stay inside the gates of safe expensive resorts)- MONEY TALKS — disinvestment ended aparthied.

    Dont vacation in countries / locations that can arrest you for being gay (that would have included states in the US just 5 years ago). PERIOD. It is irresponsible to support those places — support the places where people have WORKED HARD to change the laws.

  • Carlos

    Will Aaron be our Rosa Parks in the Caymans and refuse to move to the back of the bus, or in his case, refuse to stop kissing his lover?

    All it takes is one fearless hero to start a movement.

  • JPinWeHo

    I think Aaron should be congratulated. Merely because a country has anti-gay policies and laws does not mean that they shouldn’t be challeged. Is that ethno-centric? Possibly, but I’m willing to take on that label for those purposes. GLBT people should not HAVE to avoid certain countries because of intolerance – so I applaud anyone who has the guts to take the risk (and the resulting hardship) which results from standing up for themselves and the rest of the gay community. I agree that not spending money in a homophobic country is one method of protest – but I think a more effective strategy is to show the world the effect that these homophobic laws on visitors. Hanging the Cayman’s dirty laundry for the world to see is exactly what it deserves.

  • Puddy Katz

    Aaron Chandler is dreamy!

  • Maplewoody

    My partner & I are spending our $5000 on an all GAY Atlantis Cruise this July from Barcelona, to Marseille to Italy and to Mykonos & Santorini and back to Rome….

    We would NEVER think of going to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Iran or other anti-gay areas!
    I say FUCK the Cayman Islands and other places like them!

  • Jim

    I live in Gibraltar. The age of consent for males is 18 and the police do not take any interest in people kissing and holding hands in bars. However as the legal age for drinking is also 18 persons younger should not be there.

    I found it highly amusing when visiting Boston to have to produce proof of age to get a beer at a concert, so 18 year olds are discriminated against – but thats their law.

    Yes laws vary and tourists should be aware of it and respect other countries rules. Drop litter or import chewing gum in Singapore at your peril.

    The UK does not ‘bankroll’ Gibraltar – we are self-sufficient and on the whole better off. Crime is lower and the policing better. With around 7m tourists a year, we must be doing something right.

  • Charley

    I find the Bahamas and Virgin Islands full of surly acting people anyway, disinterested, and scratching their crotch while checking your passport. Also there are poisonous sea snakes living in the waters off St. Thomas.

  • Steve

    Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands and the Falkland Islands are British Colonies, as are Bermuda, Anguilla, Montserrat and Turks & Caicos. Colonialism is no longer politically correct, so they are called “Overseas Territories.” Of these, only Montserrat receives UK foreign aid. Each has its own laws, but these laws must have British consent, but Britain is reluctant to impose her will on her colonial subjects.

    But laws are not the basic problem; they are merely a symptom. Primitive laws reflect widely-held primitive beliefs and are encouraged by many who believe themselves to be Christians. It is difficult to educate people when this same ignorance is supported by international figures of great moral authority, especially the Pope.

  • James

    Nearly all of the Caribbean island nations have regressive public policies regarding sexual mores, backed up by a particularly fiery brand of fundamentalist Christianity. Given that they are stuck in 20th century homophobia, political and cultural pressure of these countries is already making a difference. There are plenty of places to vacation that are not homophobic: Canada, our own USA, Europe, Thailand, Goa in India, etc. Why not research your destination before making holiday plans? A little planning goes a long way toward moving global and regional cultures toward a more enlightened and open world.

  • June23

    Not only should we stop visiting the nations that continue to abuse gays and lesbians, but we Americans should stop sending dollars to the states that so brazenly discriminate against us, like Florida.

    I realize it’s difficult to avoid sending money to states in our own union; maybe it would be more effective to seek out the places that have treated us with more — if not always equal — respect.

    With the awful anti-gay adoption policies on the books in Florida, I won’t be visiting Disney World any time soon. I hear Vermont is lovely this time of year, anyway.

  • John

    There are ways to have your cake and eat it too. The world is diverse enough that you can usually find what you’re looking for somewhere else.

    The Carribean isn’t the only place in the universe with pretty beaches and coconut groves. You can always go to Hawaii, Phuket (Thailand), and French Polynesia. Those who dislike Italy’s right-wing government can rest assured that pro-gay Spain is right next door. California has a Disney Resort too. And that state is decidedly more gay-friendly than Florida.

    And yes, Vermont is lovely in May.

  • Puddy Katz

    I will not visit these places. Of course I don’t have a lot of money so it is unlikely I am going any where, well, maybe Puerto Rico.

  • Colleen

    All this dam gay business is wrong,, so why try impose it on people and in other people’s country.

    Its not right fullstop, the bible say Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve.

    Lord help all you gays and lesbos…..u lot need prayers

  • churchill-y

    Like the british say here here! Darth Paul and An Other Greek. Although I have to say Cayman behavior is really not their fault, can any reasonable intelligent person expect them to behave any differently? The only reason they’re not killing themselves in the same high numbers as nearby Jamaica is precisly because they still are a British Overseas Territory with a minority of british in their population and government (Look up Stuart Duncan Macdonald Jack) unlike the latter.

    That’s precisely why the fault lies on the U.K.(and not on the evolutionary throwbacks of the caribbean) for not enforcing basic civil conduct and 21st century logic as they do in Great Britan, in the law of it’s territories.
    Otherwise what’s the point in still holding on to these island’s and providing them with financial stability?

  • churchill-y

    Collen deary, In case you’re a cayman or a native from another throwback territory may I suggest to you to not waste your time in a site were “THIS DAM GAY BUSINESS” is being discussed and instead work with some cayman island group from a cave or from were ever you TROGLODYTES gather yourselves and start an independence movement from the U.K.

    Believe or not I would totally support the likes of you in such a move. I totally think you TROGLODYTES should stick together and that the U.K, France and the Neatherlands should not have to put up with people like you migrating to the metroplis and dumming down the general population.

  • Cayman Ex-Pat Islander

    This is quite a hard one. I’m a straight guy but with a strong sense of justice. What occurred on your visit was wrong – of that there is no doubt. The Cayman Islands certainly are backward and hypocritical and have a confused set of morals apparently based on their strong religious beliefs. But my issue is that given this – you would have known full well, after the first “word in your ear” that more discreet behaviour would be better. It seems that activists like yourself, seek out situations that can offend the most. I take it that “when in rome, do as the romans do” does not apply to gays ? So you would drink alcohol in Saudi, go naked on a beach in The Maldives and probably engage in a sexual act in a mosque – just to get a supposed “Homophobic” response?

    There are alot of injustices in the world, not least in The Cayman Islands. But that does not give anyone the right to insult the local people, beliefs or religions – no matter how misguided they are.

    If Cayman was as bad as you had made out – you would have been arrested immediately and not even given a friendly caution.

    If any Caymanians are reading this – let it be known that I find your homophobic intolerence abhorent and typically hypocritical of the Islands people. You are currently trying to destroy a Human Rights bill that seeks to protect and treat all as equals – by my reckoning, that puts you back in the dark ages where you belong.

  • Angelgal

    You have to understand that the Cayman Islands is a Christian community and while I don’t agree with their homophobia I can’t fault them. Caymanians and Caribbean people for that matter are very stuck in their ways. Homosexuality is allowed you guys just have to know where to go to express yourself. It’s a simple rule don’t express it in public if you want to go the the gay bar the O-bar/ Attic and have some fun. And I agree with EMB you’re in someone else’s country you have to abide by there rules no matter how juvenile they might be. I’m sorry you guys had to have this experience but unfortunately that’s they way things are down here. It’s a lovely island and some people are wonderful but some are also very traditional and stuck in their ways which in no way progresses the pace of this country. Maybe if you try back in 20, 30 years from now things might change cause the new generation isn’t too bad!
    Another thing hells kitchen guy go FUCK yourself. Stop being so damn judgemental and closed minded. It happens everywhere! But that’s not all the island is about. Fucking turd.

  • Angelgal

    O another thing right now we’re in the process of changing all our constitution so things are gonna be a bit different soon.

  • Angelgal

    And if you would please stop addressing Caymanians as a whole not all of us are homophobic not all of us care. You have to realize it is the older generation and most of the male population on a whole.

  • Robert Smith

    Enough with the name calling and island bashing. Is it so hard to believe that there are other people and cultures where the majority doesn’t necessarily agree with the adopted US norm on issues such as homosexuality? If not, then why doesn’t the US just invade the entire world and impose its morals on us all? I don’t write to US newspapers and blogs complaining about homosexual behaviour just because I don’t think that it’s right. I have enough respect for everyone’s right to live their lives as they choose without imposing my morals on them. The vast majority of the Caymanian people ask only for the same respect. I am not homophobic, nor are most islanders. My sister is gay and I love her as much as I do my other sisters. One of my best friends is gay and I know many other gay people. The issue here is about respecting the culture and beliefs of a country that you might choose to visit and the inherent duty you have while there to respect their rules, however backward or unjust you might believe them to be.

  • Rob Moore

    There is no U.S. norm. People in some areas of the U.S. are more open-minded than in other areas. Even in California and New York State different regions have different levels of tolerance.

    I don’t care for the most part what goes on in the Cayman Islands. I won’t go there nor will anyone I know. We already know what a throwback it is and have discussed amongst ourselves how these islands are quite free to do as they please, but they can just do it without our money. The only exception I make is when these places are occasionally wrecked by hurricanes. I do not wish to see people suffer know matter how ignorant or intolerant their societies are normally.

  • Davinci McNab

    Why be harassed in the Cayman Islands? Come to Roatan, Honduras. My family’s resort is very gay-friendly (see I’m the general manager, and I’m a proud gay man.

  • Jim

    Steve is wrong, yes Gibraltar was once a colony as was Massachusetts. Our laws are made by our elected parliament and do not need consent of the British Government.

    Its not up to me to tell the citizens of Boston they are crazy saying only people aged 21 can drink, thats their law and as a visitor I respect it.

    If you are not welcome in the Cayman Islands, then DON’T GO THERE and tell your friends. But not all BoT’s are the same and laws and customs vary.

    In some EU states you can legally smoke marijuana and bugger 13 year old boys – but you can’t here and we don’t intend to change the rules or make exceptions for tourists.

  • Rob Moore

    M Shane (13), the main reason the British Empire began to shrink dramatically was that WW2 almost bankrupted the country. It did not make economic sense to maintain the Empire. That didn’t stop Churchill from opposing independence for the Imperial territories including India.

  • Robert Smith

    #34 Rob Moore wrote “I do not wish to see people suffer know matter how ignorant or intolerant their societies are normally.” So let me understand your view Rob. Just because our laws and morals are not agreeable to you, we are “ignorant and intolerant”? Seems to me that the ignorance and intolerance is all yours, not ours.

  • churchill-y

    Thanks for the info Davinci McNab, good to know there are other beautiful tropical places that are actually inhabited by people and not Pan troglodytes who justify their devolved behavior and hate under the disguise of being “Christian”.

    “Caymanians and Caribbean people for that matter are very stuck in their ways”. – So where the colonial master’s when it came to slavery but somehow they EVOLVED- look up the word in a DICTIONARY Angelgal.

    INDEPENDENCE FOR THE CAYMAN ISLANDS- U.K rid yourselves off of this stain.

  • churchill-y

    Oh and please don’t lump every place in the caribbean with backwater’s like the cayman’s and Jamaica examples- No. 35 · Davinci McNab some places in Mexico and Dutch dependencies like SABA.

    Future tourist judge by populations if they are of the same ilk as majority Cayman-Jamaica-Barbados don’t go near them.

  • Rob Moore

    Robert Smith, yes, that about sums it up. I considered South African apartheid morals and laws ignorant and intolerant too. If that makes me ignorant and intolerant, well, so be it.

  • dave miller

    well gentle men i’m sorry you didn’t respect our laws even tho you were warned. but let it be known that we do not prejudice you or any of our own gay people who were born here . They know how far the law allows. YOU were warned but YOU disrespected the officer so unfortunately what happened to you was caused by you.

  • Super Cat

    I think the biggest problem with these places isn’t that tourist can’t go there and be openly gay, it’s that young gays and lesbians who are born their have to live in that enviroment. They are unable to be themselves in their homeland. That’s why they should change their laws.

  • Travis Ritch

    Just want to clarify a few things.

    In 2000 in the wake of the refused cruise ship the British Government legalised homosexuality in all Overseas Territories. There is no express provision in the law that prohibits gay people from doing this or that, but we do have public decency laws. Public nudity, for example, is illegal and so we have no nude beaches.

    The way this incident evolved reflects a common problem with the police: they often don’t know the law! They are trained about the functions and tasks a police officer must execute but do not understand their wider role. In this case the behaviour of this young man offended patrons and the establishment would have had every right to ask him to leave. Instead, the police removed him.

    Now, we do not receive a red cent from the United Kingdom. In fact, they often impose things on us and force us to pay for them. The only reason we are not independent is because we cannot survive on our own yet. Many countries around the world would actually imprison you or you would be killed by an ordinary person because, for whatever reason, your beliefs/sexuality/anything about you etc do not accord with theirs. This is NOT the case in Cayman – I would say we have the same understanding as your Army does.

    When you speak of us in the terms you have you only fan the flames and harden the resistance. It seems many of you are as bigoted about us as we are about you. This invites people like me, who politically support gay rights and who usually have a “live and let live” mentality, to get quite angry. I bet I could sit down with any one of you and have a long chat about the Republicans stunt in the 2004 election, the fuss in San Francisco and The End Of The World in Massachusetts, and we would share many opinions. But when you paint us with such a wide brush – and if you were to come, you would see it is not at all what you think – when there are more places in the world than not who would be disgusted by not only the original act but the “asking for it” this man clearly displayed [no doubt because he wanted attention, which is why he went along willingly with the officer] and come to the conclusion we are backward as a result? Now that I just cannot get behind because my feelings on homosexuality pale in comparison to my national pride. When you insult a cultural norm and put it over the fire on the same skewer as the country, this is what you get – people who otherwise wouldn’t care saying and doing things they don’t mean.

    This man asked for it. He went to a place frequently primarily by locals, refused the order of an officer of the law, and offended everyone present. Whether they “should” have been offended or not is not for you to decide. Live and let live is a bilateral thing. Next time, he should not go looking for trouble, and trying to cloak the issue in human rights, gay rights or any other kind of rights. Tell him to try this in Jamaica, just a few dozen miles to our east, or the Middle East. He will not be able to write to you if he does.

  • Caymanian 2 di bone!!

    I agree with Robert Smith’s, and Travis Ritch’s scope on this situation. I have friends that are gay, family members here and abroad that are gay, but they all know that the ways of the land limit you from the amount of affection that can be shown towards your partner(s) in public. I have nothing against gays, for we all make our own choices in this life. I do have a problem with people who go into other people’s countries and disrespect the way of the land. I know for a fact that if any of my gay friends/family had been warned about their public behavior, they would have listened and not purposely tried to start trouble with the coutry people and the police. It should also be said that if a straight couple is seen in public behaving inappropriately they too can and will be asked to tone it down. Believe me I live here, and have witnessed it time and time again. THERE IS A PLACE AND TIME FOR ANY AND EVERYTHING. And like Mr. Ritch said – tell him to try that in Jam and see what a different outcome it would have been.

    It is amazing how you think it’s OK to disrespect another man’s country and way of life. The way in which you insult our mentality and our country is disgusting, and it truly shows the devil is working hard on all of you. Believe me it adds fuel to the fire when ignorance is shown by so many. Name calling and judging what you all know nothing about, it’s sad really. Are we all minors here, or are there any adults? Let’s stop trying to act like this man did not cause this situation on himself, and let’s stop threatening a country if they do not adapt to your way of life.

    Has America and it’s people, not yet learnt that going into other people’s countries and trying to rule them gets them nowhere? (LOL) Think about that, be honest with yourself and tell me now – who are the ignorant and backwater countries and places? You have homophobic states/cities/towns and yet you want to bash a small group of islands for the same way of life. You have racism to the highest level amongst your own people. You have serial killers and high school massacres. I don’t see any of that here in the Cayman Islands. I also don’t see that many Caymanians invading the US and expecting the same courtesies that we are offered at home. Nor do I see many Caymanians doing idiotic things like walking across roads in the US when lights are on green, or asking if you can swim under an island, typical dumb stuff like as though I left my brain on the flight/ship I just came in on. Think hard and long before you insult another man’s country or make such broad ignorant remarks. My suggestion would be this – be honest with yourselves, and let’s be careful who we call backward and stupid, it could just come back to bite you.

    Another thing – Mr. Ex-pat friend that thinks our mentality is so backward – can I ask YOU something as well? If your home country and its people are so much further advanced, why is it that you had to leave there and come here to soak up our beloved CI Dollars? Yeah I know, cuz we NEED you, right? Cayman can’t survive without you? Yeah right! Try me again! Most of the corruption to our island is done by the ex-pat and his great need for more and more and even MORE $. You and I both know that’s true so I don’t see it necessary for you to respond.

    As I type this response, my gay cousin is here next to me, whom was at the said location that night and in his words “That dude effin’ asked for that. They asked him nicely to tone it down, and he just laughed it off and disrespected them. He got LESS than what he deserved”.

    **WHEN IN ROME DO AS THE ROMANS DO**. Don’t like Cayman’s way of life, it’s people or what we believe in?? Go somewhere else! My advice to you is this then “SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT!”. And if you don’t clearly understand my last sentence, then again it shows who is more ignorant than who.

    My CAYMANIAN people LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD, no more are we to sit down and let people bash our beloved home. STAND UP AND SPEAK THE TRUTH!!!

  • World Traveler

    Don’t like Cayman’s way of life, it’s people or what we believe in?? Go somewhere else!

    Trust me, that’s exactly what I will do.

  • elizabeth

    Hi guys.. I just want to say that it’s important to be sensitive to these places such as Grand Cayman. I grew up there, it’s a beautiful and delicate country. Their views may not reflect the momentum you would desire. There are many intricacies to the issues at hand. The people as a whole are very conservative, but that is also to be respected. Instead of entering into potentially hostile scenarios I would invite you to go back, spend time underwater.. where it’s one of the most dreamy worlds you will find. It doesnt have to be about making out at bars and creating an uncomfortable scene. You’re sensitive, if you recognize there is a problem, be discreet. Dont hurl insults at the island. That’s not fair. I mean, come on. You’re not in LA. I grew up with gay friends there, everyone acknowledges the gay people. But as a whole, it’s discreet. I took so many great memories from my childhood there. It doesnt have to be a sex on the beach adventure ++ you have your hotel room for that fun ++ I cant wait to go home again this summer.. to experience the warm water, the gentle pace, and find ways to give back to the place rather than take take take.

  • elizabeth

    I have to say more to this sentiment that Grand Cayman Islanders are ‘backwards’.. it couldn’t be further from the truth. This tiny place harnesses one of the most progressive attitudes towards diversity that I’ve known. This may not be sexual diversity as you would like, but it does apply to race. The community is extremely tolerant to black and white culture and has in the past years opened and included spanish language throughout as a result of a growth of residents who are spanish immigrants to the island. No one spoke spanish there in past years other than a few. Now, you hear it spoken in the bars, on the radio.. etc. So I would have to challenge this thought that Grand Cayman is ‘backwards’.. In fact, they have been accepting of cultural influences and attitudes from other neighboring countries…including the US which I can not say has been an improvement socially. I could hitchhike across the island at any time of day when i was a kid. I just feel it important to take this situation and reflect on it carefully, understanding the circumstances for which this fellow was engaging. I think it was a bit rash for him to race out and tattle to the gay community like he did.. rather than think about his own possible contribution to the moment, disrespective of the tone of the environment. I know this bar, it’s fun.. but yah, it’s not a place for two boys making out…it’s overt, and I’d say sticks out like a fish out of water given the place and time. Using tact and taste, I think these guys would not have found such a harsh response..

    all right, nuff said. ++

  • Rob Moore

    The thing I find so odd about these people who practice homophobia based on religious beliefs is that they don’t appear to have a problem with unmarried girls having babies with multiple fathers. The men who father the babies don’t appear to have much responsibility to their offspring. That is true in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

  • Jim

    I see the following reported:

    Cayman Islands Department of Tourism issued an apology to Aaron Chandler and his boyfriend:

    “On behalf of the entire Department of Tourism, I apologize for your upsetting experience and want to assure you that the Cayman Islands is a welcoming jurisdiction to all people,” Director of Tourism Pilar Bush said in a letter to Aaron Chandler and his boyfriend, a day after the story of their detention was publicized in the media. “What happened to you was an isolated incident, and is not representative of Cayman. We know that thousands of gay and lesbian visitors travel to the Cayman Islands every year and enjoy their vacation.”

  • Aaron Chandler

    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 comments:

    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.

  • Jim

    If you received the official apology I found posted on the net, and you are not mentioning, then whats your problem?

    You have made the point. However when in other countries its as well to be aware of their sensitivities and laws and abide by them.

    I have no connection with the Cayman Islanders, but if you have had an official apology then its time to desist from whining and it never was appropriate to lump all BOT’s together as they are different from each other.

  • Aaron Chandler


    The apology is not an official apology on behalf of the government; it was more of a form apology.

    What made the apology less meaningful is that the boss of the person who issued the apology made contradictory statements that were at odds with the apology.

    Just today, the Ministry of Tourism, Trade, Commerce and Environment released a press statement that basically said the apology I received from the DoT was meaningless.

    You say that I should “be aware of their sensitivities and laws and abide by them.” But, what laws? As I said, I didn’t commit any infractions. I broke NO law there. Rather, it was the cop who likely broke a law (or at least, an internal policy), by detaining me under false premises.

  • Jim

    Given the circumstances outlined, an apology from the department of tourism should be reasonable. If you have received that in the form of a letter rather than an an email, why not publish it?

    From their website, it seems the deputy chief of police has been arrested on an unrelated matter and the chief is away in the UK so there are perhaps more urgent things going down there at present in their police service.

    Respecting other countries sensitivities and laws is always good advice, and you can encounter a difficult police officer anywhere.

    You could always complain to

    As a British territory they are signed up to European requirements, and human rights seem to be respected and protected, unlike rogue states that engage in arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, and torture.

  • Duder McDudefenstein

    What with that guy’s nose? Is there a gay nose? Do I have a gay nose? … Oh wait – maybe it’s just been broken a buncha times. <:/

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