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Is a Gay Company Endangering Gay Customers?

Is a Gay Company Endangering Gay Customers?

Is a gay company endangering its passengers by selling cruise ship holidays to homophobic locales?

Many people are saying this after two gay men were arrested and fined in the Caribbean Island of Dominica, and their tour company shrugged it off.

Initial reports were that the men were having sex on a balcony in view of people in the port, however, later reports from other passengers suggested that they were either naked or lightly clothed on the cabin’s balcony at breakfast time – on a holiday sold as ‘clothing optional.’ After returning to the U.S., they said they were ‘lightly clothed’ and not having sex.

According to some other passengers, they were not warned to be clothed in port nor were any passengers warned that gay sex is illegal in Dominica nor, on Atlantis cruises, that it is illegal in a number of other places where the cruise ship holidays stop.

The men say they were publicly humiliated by authorities and local media says they were fined for ‘indecent exposure’ (naked on a balcony?). Although authorities said they wanted to charge them with buggery, that would ‘take too long.’ They were marched to an ATM and had to pay a hefty fine.

The response of the company has also riled many. Gay cruise holiday company Atlantis president Rich Campbell said:

They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sodomy laws do exist. But that’s not what they were called into question for. That has nothing to do with this.

Defying the actual Dominican charges, Campbell blamed the men for being “seen engaging in a sexual act outdoors on their balcony in full public view of the port and town.” It is also disputed whether they were in ‘full view’ or whether binoculars would have been needed. They could well have been targeted.

The couple said in a subsequent interview with the AP that the captain ejected them from the cruise ship after police showed up to arrest them and that they were told there was “zero tolerance toward your behavior.”

The Atlantis holidays also include cruises around the Baltic which stop in St. Petersberg, Russia, which has a new anti-gay law that Madonna has said she will publicly defy, with the law’s chief proponent promising to monitor her behavior when she is there.

The law’s vague wording means that anyone wearing rainbow flag decals on St Petersburg streets could in theory be arrested for ‘promotion of homosexuality to children.’ Furthermore, the law has emboldened local anti-gay forces and around the holidays, the cruise ships dump up to to 2,000 out gay men into the ports they visit. The ship’s passengers become a very visible gay presence wherever they stop, which is why they’ve been protested in various Caribbean islands including Dominica.

Yet as with the company’s response to the arrests in Dominica, reports are that they don’t believe the St. Petersburg law poses any threat to their customers as they don’t think it will be enforced. This is despite travel warnings for St Petersburg being issued by several governments.

There is a strong call for a boycott of St. Petersburg from Russian gay people, yet one of the leads in breaking that boycott is a big gay-owned business. So much for international gay solidarity.

Related stories:

Madonna to Protest ‘Atrocity’ of St Petersburg Anti-Gay Law

Russian Lawmakers Face Travel Ban Call Over Gay Gag Rule

Russian Church Official Wants National Gay Gag Rule

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30 comments

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9:20AM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

1. There are other cruise companies to use.
2. People should be aware of the situation in the countries they visit.
3. The Atlantis leadership should probably be exchanged and the owners be aware that sometimes profits have to stand back when it comes to care for their customers.
4. Personally, I would never visit any of those countries mentioned in the article. I work hard for my money and I have no intention of giving them away to homophobes!

4:10AM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

It's so wrong how gay sex is considered sodomy. It is two consensual adults engaging in sexual activities. How is it different from straight sex? This wouldn't be happening if it were a heterosexual cruise.

3:22PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

I take it this was an adult only cruise, so no children would be running around. Children run around at nudist camps ? Never been to one..just guessing. People will do the deed wherever straight or gay, and probably in the very pool of your apartment complex, or in a car parked in front of your house.
If the locals reaction to gays is hostile, I am sure there are places more than willing to add revenue to the local merchants.
Obnoxious behavior knows no sex, creed, or age, idiots have some how managed to stay and play in the gene pool since the dawn of time.

12:50AM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

Maybe those men did show a lapse in judgement, but the homophobic bigots will use this incident to further justify their hate based, anti-GLBT agendas and try to say that all gay people are a threat. All things considered I don't think it's a good idea for travel lines to be selling tickets for homophobic locales, espeicall ythe Caribbean where homophobia is widespread and not only condoned but encouraged. (Ever hear some of the hateful messages in their isalnd music?) It's a dangerous situation where many of the bigoted locals are just itching to unleash their hatred and gay bashing tendencies. It's such a shame that some of the locales with the most beautiful scenery are also home to people with some of the ugliest hatred and prejudices imaginable.

5:36PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

A cruise company that specializes in gay cruises really needs to not be going to ports that are not gay friendly. Period. The money that is spent when the ship docks is probably quite a large sum, and while they certainly have the right to be homophobic, see how the wind blows when that money is being spent on another island that welcomes gay people. A boycott of Atlantis Cruises is in order.

4:44PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Not a company I would trust. Indeed according to witnesses the charge was bogus. What the heck is "lightly clothed" in the tropics anyway? A pair of trunks?

I wouldn't go to the Caribbean for love or money.

4:38PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Well, I certainly wouldn't trust my business to a company who takes gays to places where it's illegal.

3:35PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Sorry, I have no sympathy for these men. Where did they think they had the right to have sex where they wanted?
On a "straight" cruise line, there would have possibly been children about, aside from couples who would not have considered this.
This kind of behavior is what gives the Christian right energy.

3:23PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

I agree with Michael M.

11:24AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

@Bill B.

Thanks for that. Several people HAVE been arrested already under similar laws in other regions of Russia and anti-gay forces have threatened to 'enforce' the law in St Petersberg. Plus there has been a call from local LGBT organisations for a boycott.

So Atlantis' comments are BS + i agree with your point on the risk and disaster potential made on Queerty thread.

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