The homophobic hysteria and slaughter of gays occurring in Jamaica should be a wake up call for all Cruisemates but in particular the gay contingent to call for a boycott of all cruise and holiday travel to Jamaica. And any boycott shoud extend to those carriers that frequent ports in that country. Current news:
At the other end of the political spectrum, is there any Caribbean island or port that is truly gay-affirming? I know most tourist spots are friendly and comfortable when you're a tourist spending money, but I don't know of any that provide the legal standing that one might find in Canada and some European countries.
A few years back, a gay cruise to the Grand Cayman received the official UNWELCOME mat for gays. That seems to have quieted down.
For many travel spots, there is a double standard for tourists versus locals. The rules and expectations tend to be more straight-laced for the locals.
Well, Ivan, to my knowledge, they are not hacking anyone to death in the Cayman Islands. And when was the last time you heard a St. Kitts Rap group song calling for the shooting of gays? Our real problem is happening in Jamaica. If they are made to feel the loss of our tourist dollars, other islands with homophobic undertones will see the cost of such open aggression and evaluate their position on this sort of intolerance
I haven't read anything in the gay press about gays being slaughtered in Jamaica. Could you tell me more? Perhaps a reference in print or on line? My partner and I have had unpleasant experiences in Jamaica, mostly with agressive salespersons, and we are in no hurry to go back there. Jimbo
(Kingston) As the mob around Victor Jarrett grew, so did the
chanting. "Gays must die!" onlookers yelled as two policemen
allegedly took turns beating him beneath the blazing afternoon sun.
His crime? Staring at a teenage boy on a beach, one witness said.
After chasing him to a nearby house, the crowd of civilians dragged
Jarrett out and chopped, stabbed and stoned him to death.
"The police just let it happen," said Nicholas Henry, another gay
man who witnessed part of the June 18 attack in the northern town
of Montego Bay. "Where are you supposed to turn when even the
police won't protect you? Our society tells us there's nothing worse
than being gay."
We are SHOCKED about the treatment of gays in Jamaica! My partner and I visited both Kingston and Montego Bay and we were treated with the utmost respect and consideration during our 2 week stay......but that was 35 years ago. Wouldn't you think that attitudes towards gays would have improved since then instead of getting worse!.....seems like a backward step!!! What's going on in our world???
I'm all for boycotting Jamaica. We took our first cruise together in 1989. It was a western Caribbean itinerary that included Ocho Rios. It's the only time I haven't felt safe in a port. We did not sail to the western Caribbean again until last year--when we went on the Grand Princess, which did not stop in Jamaica (It went to Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.)
Are there any of the mass market cruise lines that don't go to Jamaica at all?
It's hard to believe that this continues in this day-in-age. We are scheduled on a cruise in April to celebrate one of our good (straight) friend's 60th birthday. Unfortunately, one of the ports-of-call is the Grand Caymans. We've have agreed that we will not be getting off the ship in this port. It may be our small way of protest to hold back our tourist dollars. In answer to the question of what Caribbean island really is gay affirming, we have an answer. On all of our visits, St. Barts, has truly been a locale where there was absolutely no predjudice evident. It may not be the most affordable island to visit but it makes up for that in the way the local population has a wonderful European attitude of "whatever". Try Barts, you'll love it!
Quite frankly they could care less if you boycott their Island. What you would be doing is hurting the cruiselines and those that depend on these tourist to make a living. I have never personally seen any differant treatment of gays in Jamaica than others but do know that they are pretty closeminded about homosexuality. Then again, you have ports like the Grand Caymans that also are primitive in their outlook towards gays as well as many other islands in the Caribbean. If you do not go there with the "in your face" attitude of a militant gay I doubt they would even notice. On the other hand if you go with the attitude of "I'm gay so what are you going to do about it" you will get treated poorly. In addition, I have never heard of any cruise passenger, gay or straight that has been murdered much less hacked to death.
There is an editorial in New York Times today (Dec 2) saying that antigay prejudices in Jamaica are an obstacle which prevent Jamaica from effectively addressing prevention and treatment of AIDS. "A disturbing new report from Human Rights Watch suggests that Jamaica cannot win the battle against AIDS until it confronts the virulent forms of anti-gay bigotry that run through the country's popular culture, its police force and much of its medical system. "
We are not suggesting a boycott because of how the Jamaicans treat us or just what they think of us as tourists but for the way they treat their own gay citizens. Death is a rather harsh punisment for "looking at a young man on the beach".
Perhaps many have missed the point of just what a boycott is about. It's the government of Jamaica that is the target. If we succeed to decrease tourist spending, which includes port fees and the like, the leaders of that country will understand that the anti gay hysteria that they foster and support is going to cost them economically. And show us a leader of anything that thinks the buck doesn't matter....
I think it will be very difficult to make enough of an impact. The cruiselines are still going to stop in Jamaica because it is a very popular island, although I don't know why. That said, I have been on two cruises this year that stopped in Ocho Rios and I did not get off the ship on either trip and I have never be to Jamaica other than the view from my balcony. It is the rare person that tells me what a great place Jamaica is, however, it is common to hear the negative stories.
I am one that will tell you of the great times we have had whenever we go to Jamaica. No I am not gay but I don't really think that matters all that much as far as cruise tourist goes. What does matter is how you look at, react, and treat the locals and what understanding you have and are willing to give to their culture and customs. We have been treated wonderfully by almost all the locals whenever we are there because we accept them for the way they are and do not judge them. Hey, wait a minute, isn't that what we tell people who have problems with those folks who happen to be gay? Prejudice and discrimination work both ways. Treat the locals with respect and kindness and acceptance and they will treat you wonderfully in return.
There's a fine line between "in your face" and "i have gay money to spend". If, in a port (or in any city not on a cruise ship), it's important to me that the person/company I am dealing with is gay-supportive, or I'll take my gay dollars elsewhere. While not getting off the ship will deprive the locals of important dollars, I also think it's important to let them know that their bigotry is costing them dollars. I'll also write the local tourism boards to let them know what their gay-hostile environment is stopping us from coming. Silence is not the answer, being "in your face" is not the answer either; however, I hope more of us speak out to let them know how their hatred is costing financially and socially.
There really is not such thing as 'gay' dollars anymore then there are 'black' dollars or 'white' dollars or 'Jewish' dollars. There are only American Dollars. Remember that it is not only many 'straight' people that set gays apart from 'normal', it is many gays as well that do so by insisting that they are somehow 'differant'. Sorry, but people are people no matter their sexual preferances, gender, race, nationality or whatever and so long as so many insist that they are 'differant' the longer it will be before other people accept them. I have friends that happen to be gay or of a differant nationality or race than I am, but the key is that they are friends and not gay friends or black friends or British friends, they are just plain friends.
Ron and Jon....
Deb and I agree and will not sail on a ship with a stop in Jamaica. Never cared for Jamaica and care even less for it now. Maybe the so called "merchants" there and the cruise lines would cause pressure to be put on the Local Gov to clean up their act if tourist money was lost. I don't think that I am Gay, but envy Gays cause they dress really cool, always treat Deb and me nice and have fun. Hi Harry! Semper Fi friends!
As a side note to this discussion, I think it's good to note that there are guides online that rate different countries and destinations for gay friendliness and describe applicable laws in each country. One very good site is
There are some destinations in the Caribbean that receive 4 of 5 possible pink stars, including Antigua/Barbuda, Martinique, and Mexico. Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Guadaloupe receive 3 pink stars. Interestingly, the British dependencies such as the British Virgin Islands and the Grand Cayman Islands are under pressure from Britain (and Europe) to change their laws to conform to European standards.
Clearly, we don't want to spend our money in homophobic countries. In the long run, we also need the support of concerned citizens in general, not just gays, to help move homophobic countries to more enlightened laws, policies, and attitudes. I think of the international pressure placed on South Africa during the years of apartheid. Even that heavy pressure took decades to produce changes in South Africa itself.
I am afraid you do live in a "State of Confusion". For an admitted straight person you seem to be quite interested with this message site. Most importantly, until you have walked in our shoes, you really cannot speak to what it is to be discriminated against. You make the case of how tourists treat the locals. We don't treat the locals any differently then you do, perhaps we treat them better! We're, for the most part, a fun group of folk with alot of discretionary "gay' dollars to spend. Yes,there is such a thing as "gay" dollars and witholding them does make a difference, just ask the Coors bottling company. And one last, but very serious request, please stop referring to our orientation as "preference". Preference implies that we have some sort of choice in the matter. We don't!
Thank you for your time-
I could not agree more............Why on earth is a "straight guy" on a gay cruise board...........giving advice to gay people?????
We are a powerful economic force across the developed world. Ahh but that's the rub, Jamaica is 3rd world and poverty stricken. I've been there once and that was plenty!!! Sooo many BETTER places in the region..............And after last year's election,
we need to speak louder still to be heard...
PS: We need to ask Jim how he came to decide HIS "preference"
Hi folks, just want to pipe in with a couple things ...
* The terms of service at Cruisemates does not allow slamming of a fellow member, so let's try and keep the disagreements polite. Thanks in advance for that.
* Most importantly, *everyone* is allowed to read/post on the Gay and Lesbian cruisers board. If you think about it, I think it's great that straight folks would be interested.
* As an FYI, Jim is the Community Staff Supervisor here at Cruisemates, which is one heck of a job. He oversees all the message boards here, as well as helping the moderators out. I also know that Jim is a strong advocate for the G/L population here and in the world. Sure, you can disagree with some things, but again, let's keep it polite and, again, everyone is allowed to post.
* Finally, my 2 cents: I do think there are "gay dollars" -- that's why we see Absolut vodka (for example) always running ads in gay publications. I think this is also coming into play with the new American Express ads featuring Ellen Degeneres. I also believe in boycotting certain businesses when it's very clear where their attitudes toward the gay population exists. I advocated such when Wheaties refused to offer Greg Louganis the cover of the box after his Olympics win. And, finally, I do agree that "oritentation" is the preferred word.
OK, I'm over and out ... everyone here is great ... let's keep it that way.
Post Edited (01-03-05 14:02)
__________________ Harry Martin
Moderator - Mexico and G/L message boards
Mark, the reason I am so interested in this message board is because I am responsible for it and every other message board here at this website. <G> No, I'm not gay and not even slightly curious nor do I pretend to understand completely the feelings that relate to being a gay person. I DO however know what it takes to be a person and ;ast I checked gays are people and really not differant than anyone else except for their sexual preferance and feelings. I also do have a number of friends and a number of them happen to be gay. They are NOT my friends because, or in spite of, their being gay, it just happens to be they are.
Thanks Harry for your remarks, I appreciate them. I try not to give 'Gay" advice, just advice. As Harry has said, I really could care less if you are gay or straight, that just isn't a factor as far as I'm concerned. To iramack, Like you, I did not choose or decide my preferance, it just is what it is. I am not proud of it, I am not ashamed of it, and I do not need to defend it anymore than you should, it just is.
Also, let me qualify what the word 'preferance' means in this terminology. Heterosexual humans prefer those of the 'opposite' sex in, for lack of a better word, the romance department. Those who are homosexual prefer those of the same sex for this same department. NO WHERE have I ever said, nor implied it is a choice. It is not, there is nothing wrong with being Gay, nor is it deviant, perverted, mental or any of those other things insecure and ignorant people try to make it into. I have always felt that way and am quick to point out to those that are predjudiced against Gays that they are beyond stupid and need to gain a few brain cells. Predjudice toward anyone based on their sex, race, nationality, religion is ignorant. Please do not accuse me of these things or try and twist my words to mean somethng else.
(Who kinda of takes offense when someone implies I am something I am not)
I don't know how we got so far off the subject here but the original thought was to voice our horror and rejection of the homophobic reactions found in Jamaica by choosing cruises and or cruise lines that do not call at Jamaican ports. As long as I am Gay and I have a dollar there is such a thing as a Gay dollar. Where I choose to spend it reflects my position on matters of life. Everyone does this. Most probably it is the result of the cancellation of all further FOD announcements by HAL. Money is talking. So I want mine to hopefully join many others in saying NO to Jamaica
In matters of discrimination in sexual preferences, one cannot decree that as long as we look , talk and act like the heterosexual all will be OK. Not all of can or want to "hide" ourselves in the mass. We want to be free being who and what we are and we do not accept discrimination for it and, until laws are passed to support that thought, we can use whatever power we have at our disposal and that , my friends, is our income.