Bali sex ban: Gay travellers ask people to ‘check their privilege’

Kiwi Graham Parker said traveling as a gay man often required him to stay safe in his behavior. Photo / supplied

When Indonesia announced a new Criminal Code that makes extramarital sex a punishable offence, many expressed fear and anger about what it would mean for those visiting on holiday.

However, for LGBT+ travelers, this kind of anxiety is nothing new, something an Instagram user mentioned about the platform.

“Straight people freaking out over premarital sex ban in Bali, oh the humanity,” the post read, suggesting that when gay people travel, they often wonder if local laws mean they can be “imprisoned, beaten or killed for simply exist.”

“Get some perspective on your privilege,” it concluded.


Advertise with NZME.

Kiwi traveler Graham Parker shared the post, saying he totally agreed and could resonate with the experience.

Although she has been with her partner Johnathan for 11 years, Parker said they still have to act like friends while traveling around certain destinations.

Graham Parker shared a story on Instagram of a similar traveler.  Photo / Instagram
Graham Parker shared a story on Instagram of a similar traveler. Photo / Instagram

Parker, who lived in Melbourne for eight years, said the couple were keen travelers but needed to be careful.


Advertise with NZME.

“There have been quite a few times that we’ve had really unusual cases, you know, especially around hotels, and check-in processes,” he said, describing a circumstance when their flight was diverted to Qatar and the airline delivered passengers . a hotel room.

Also Read :  Pain of currency weakness will quickly be transferred to people and businesses

“Because we were two men, we had two hotel rooms,” Parker said. “We checked in, we were like, ‘look, we can only take one, we don’t need to occupy two of them'”. However, the staff calmly but firmly said that they had to take two rooms.

“We were a little scared, to be honest,” Parker said. The couple decided to stay in the same room, but mixed up the bed in the other room, just in case.

Regardless, it was a restless night for both of them.

“When we were sleeping in that bed, we were like, what would happen if someone came in, or if there’s a fire alarm or whatever.”


Advertise with NZME.

Even something as simple as walking around a strange city requires heightened awareness, especially in countries where homosexuality was illegal.

“You would hate to stir things up in those countries, so to speak,” said Parker, who said they often had to go a little apart.

“It takes that mental moment of ‘oh, don’t touch him like that, don’t rub his back or his shoulder or give him a kiss”.

On reflection, Parker said Rees can feel like stepping back in time before he could be openly gay with friends and family.

Also Read :  Wego CEO Sets Ambitious Goal to Be the First Travel Unicorn in Middle East

“It’s almost like going back to the days before you were out, and you’d just brush your little fingers against each other.

“That moment is a little touchy, but that’s it.”


Advertise with NZME.

Parker said some destinations technically ban homosexuality, but seem to treat foreigners as an exception to their rules.  Photo / supplied
Parker said some destinations technically ban homosexuality, but seem to treat foreigners as an exception to their rules. Photo / supplied

Not all destinations are as conservative as Indonesia and some cities around the world are hailed as havens for gay travelers. But Parker said these tend to be the exciting foreignness that travelers typically desire.

“There are definitely destinations in the world that are really progressive, but they’re usually the very Western ones, not the fun, exciting, ‘get out of your comfort zone’ kind of countries,” he said.

Unfortunately, Parker said some risky, exotic experiences are simply off the cards.

“If you want to go around Africa and do like a real Africa tour, that would be a pretty scary tour for a gay couple to do.”

In a perfect world, Parker said people would accept each other, but he doubted that would ever happen.

Instead, he wondered what it would look like to have different policies for residents and tourists regarding cultural or moral issues such as sexuality.


Advertise with NZME.

“Maybe it makes rules that only apply to the native people, not the people who visit,” Parker said.

Also Read :  Bangladesh rolls out red carpet to welcome Brunei Sultan

“I think that because at least it’s like they choose to live there and that’s their choice, which means they follow the rules around that. [sexual orientation] specifically.

“And if you could prove that you were on a visa, or literally had your passport, then you were immediately released.”

According to Indonesian government officials, this is the goal of the new code, which has provisions that make it difficult for visitors to be fined.

Shocked by the global backlash, Bali Governor Wayan Koster attempted to quell panic by reiterating that the policy can only be implemented if a family member submits a report, and will not take effect for three years.

However, Parker admitted it still created an atmosphere that felt exclusive.


Advertise with NZME.

“As a tourist, you avoid those places where you don’t agree with the values,” he said.

“As much as you have an amazing country, and we are missing out by not seeing it, we don’t want to say we will just come and give you all our tourist money and support your view.

“It’s the whole thing of ‘If this is how you treat people who are like us in your country, why should we visit you?’ “, he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.