Dear Queerty: Jamaica Needs Us!

We keep raising hairs these last two weeks, and the latest was with our post about the dangers of homophobic Caribbean countries. Reader Bryan sent us an articulate letter questioning our choice not to vacation in the Caribbean:

Living out and proud means just that. Hearts and minds are not won with threats and boycotts, but with experience and personal human connection. On the same day that you and others in the blogosphere are calling for us to abandon hope of change in the Caribbean, Andy at Towleroad reports a positive story of progress being made in the heart of a well-known religious homophobe. Shouldn’t that be our inspiration.

Of course everyone will travel where they like, and we applaud anyone brave (and altruistic) enough to use their vacation time to talk to homophobic Jamaicans. We personally prefer the types of personal human connections that don’t involve getting our heads bashed in and being left for dead in a country with no viable police force. Call us selfish and cowardly.

But Bryan did feel that we were encouraging a boycott of the Caribbean, and we wish to clarify again. We would never dream of trying to rally every disagreeable homo on the Internet to do anything, especially boycott a tropical vacation destination. Our position remains: Do what you like, but you’ll find us in Hawaii (or Puerto Rico, Italy, etc.).

Read Bryan’s full letter after the jump.

Dear Queerty:

I have digested your criticism and that of others declaring the Caribbean hostile towards gays and encouraging a boycott. Today you suggest we spend our tourist dollars in places more welcoming — like Florida?

Rather than sending my taxes — yes, tourist pay all sorts of taxes during their visits — to Jeb Bush and the Christian Right in Tallahassee, I’d like my money to line the pockets of progressive national governments like the Dutch and French.

Granted, there is crime in paradise and it is sometime directed at gays and lesbians, and local authorities don’t always act with the diligence that we’d want or expect. But I don’t think you are being fair to the people of the Caribbean.

I live in Los Angeles, home of the entertainment industry, far-left politics and Scientology, and yet crime against gays and lesbians is rampant here too! It happens everywhere. Hiding in a hole at an all-gay, clothing optional inn in Palm Springs will do nothing to make the world a better place. It might however just make it necessary to refill that penicillin prescription.

Living out and proud means just that. Hearts and minds are not won with threats and boycotts, but with experience and personal human connection. On the same day that you and others in the blogosphere are calling for us to abandon hope of change in the Caribbean, Andy at Towleroad reports a positive story of progress being made in the heart of a well-known religious homophobe. Shouldn’t that be our inspiration.

I’ll continue visiting the Caribbean, enjoying my peace and rest, and praying that I don’t meet a violent fate. Just as a I pray for that every day when I commute to work in Los Angeles. And hopefully, those who I encounter on vacation will consider it a positive experience and will learn from it.

-Bryan