DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) – A self-proclaimed American and digital nomad will be kicked out of Indonesia after posting tweets that sparked a backlash on social media over perceived Western privilege and lack of cultural awareness, after she said Bali was “friend of LGBT people”.
Indonesia is the largest predominantly Muslim nation in the world and its LGBT community has faced discrimination and sometimes violent attacks for years. Only 9% of Indonesians agreed that homosexuality is acceptable, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center last June.
In a series of weekend tweets, Kristen Gray wrote about the benefits of her decision to move to the tropical island of Bali with her girlfriend, describing her as the “perfect medicine,” a place that was friendly to women. LGBT, and where the low cost of living gave him a luxurious lifestyle.
âThe island has been amazing because of our high lifestyle at a much lower cost of living. I was paying $ 1,300 for my studio in Los Angeles. Now I have a treehouse for $ 400, âshe posted, along with a photo of her new, light-filled Balinese Mansion.
âBeing a digital nomad is all,â she added, referring to people who often work remotely and in multiple countries.
With its laid-back lifestyle, unique culture, and relatively low cost of living, Bali has been an attractive destination for those hoping to avoid working in the crowded and expensive cities of Western countries.
Gray’s tweets have been criticized by many Indonesians on social media for a variety of reasons, including allegations that she may have tricked the system into avoiding taxes, exploited Western privileges and for an apparent lack of awareness of Indonesian society.
After Gray was summoned for questioning on Tuesday, I Putu Surya Dharma, spokesperson for the Bali law and human rights agency, told Reuters that the US citizen would be deported as soon as a flight was stolen. was reportedly available and was currently being held in a migrant detention center. .
In a statement on its website, the immigration office said Gray may have broken several immigration laws, including spreading information that may disturb the public, such as suggesting Bali was “queer friendly.” “and easily accessible to strangers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“Hi everyone, first of all I am not guilty, I did not exceed my visa term, I did not earn Indonesian rupiah money in Indonesia. I made a statement on the LGBT, and I was kicked out for being LGBT, âGray told reporters.
Promoting his modernized lifestyle in an e-book titled âOur Life in Bali is Yours,â Gray had also published articles on how foreign nationals could enter Indonesia during the pandemic.
His lawyer Erwin Siregar told Reuters that Gray has a socio-cultural visa valid until January 24 of this year.
Indonesia tightened border restrictions last month to prevent entry of all foreigners, except diplomats and those who already have work or residence permits, in a bid to stem the spread more contagious variants of the new coronavirus.
Officials said they are also examining the possibility that Gray violated Indonesian law by conducting business through the sale of his e-book.
(Reporting by Kate Lamb in SYDNEY, Agustinus Beo Da Costa in JAKARTA, Sultan Anshori in BALI; Written by Kate Lamb; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry)
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