American women deported from Bali after calling the island ‘queer-friendly’

American women Kristen Gray and her partner Saundra Michelle Alexander have been deported from Indonesia after authorities took exception to them describing the island as a “queer-friendly” paradise online.

Tweets made by Gray went viral in Indonesia after she shared how she and Alexander had relocated to Bali and enjoyed it’s low cost of living and queer-friendly vibe. Her online posts drew comparisons between Bali and Los Angeles, offered advice on how to travel to Indonesia and links to buy her e-book.

Immigration officials detained Gray and her partner and at a press conference said the couple had broken several Indonesian laws.

Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the ministry of law and human rights, said Gray may have violated a number of immigration laws, including “spreading information that could unsettle the public”.

The Bali Times has reported that officials said that Gray’s suggestion that Bali was a welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers was upsetting to members of the public.

Officials said the Americans online posts promoting her book showed that she was earning a living in Indonesia while not having the correct visa. Officials also said that Gray had advertised she could be hired for consultation about visiting Bali at an hourly rate

There was also concern that the social media posts were encouraging people to travel to Indonesia at a time when the government has put stricter rules around incomming passengers due to prevalence of COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters after he deportation was announced Gray said she was being targeted because of her sexuality.

“I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my visa. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because I am LGBT.” Gray said.

The couple had been in Bali for over a year according to Gray’s social media posts.

OIP Staff

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