At the end of March I was shocked to learn that two gay men from an Atlantis Cruise had been arrested in the Caribbean island of Dominica. The local authorities must have known it was a "gay cruise line" before it docked, which led me to question why, having allowed several hundred gay men into their country, they then decided to arrest two of them. The answer came a few days later when photos of the couple in question emerged, showing them butt-naked, on their balcony, in plain view of everyone on and around the pier, in flagrante delicto. "Well, what did you expect?" was my response.
As someone who has travelled to more than 150 countries, I am used to treating State Department travel advisories with a pinch of salt. I've been to dozens of countries where homosexuality is illegal, and where our government warns people not to go. Through common sense, I've managed to enjoy my visits. I've only ever been arrested once, and that was for entering a country without a valid visa. It had nothing to do with being gay.
In truth, we all know of areas in the cities we live in where we can get robbed, assaulted, or arrested given the right behaviour. Cities in other countries are no different. The Dominica episode, however, sparked a debate about whether or not gay men and women should travel to countries where homosexuality is illegal. My personal view is that you do little to change LGBT rights in such countries by boycotting them. Instead, you'll deny ordinary citizens in those countries income and jobs, and you'll miss out on some of the best tourism our little planet has to offer.
Here, then, is a short list I've compiled of sights you won't see if you boycott anti-gay countries.
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