Just months after the Bali bonking ban laws were shelved, villas catering to the gay community are being subjected to a hate campaign.
Just months after the Bali bonking ban laws were shelved, villas catering to the gay community are being subjected to a hate campaign.

Outrage over crackdown on gay-friendly hotels

Just months after the proposed Bali bonking ban laws were shelved, villas catering to the gay community have been targeted by Indonesia's powerful anti-LBGTI movement.

One property in particular - Villa Angelo - triggered a crackdown on gay-friendly accommodation following its marketing on social media that profiled the accommodation as being exclusively for homosexual men with clothing being 'optional'.

Several other villas were reported to Badung's Civil Police for being rented to members of the LBGTI community.

Queer Eye interior expert Bobby Berk has threatened never to return to Bali or recommend the holiday island. Picture: Getty Images
Queer Eye interior expert Bobby Berk has threatened never to return to Bali or recommend the holiday island. Picture: Getty Images

We received reports that there are four villas suspected of being rented to gays. Namely Angelo Bali Guesthouse, The Elysian Boutique Hotel, Layan Bulan Villa and Villa Balinea," said police chief Mr Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara.

Police demanded that villa managers and staff sign a statement agreeing that they will not promote the villas as being gay friendly.

"We do not impose sanctions. This is just a matter of norms," said Mr Suryanegara.

The Netflix series Queer Eye interior expert Bobby Berk, who recently holidayed in Bali, slammed the move on his social media account and threatened never to return or recommend the island.

"Won't be recommending or coming back if this is how the government here is going to act," his post said.

Bali has long been a gay-friendly holiday destination. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro
Bali has long been a gay-friendly holiday destination. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

The head of Badung's Cultural Agency - which covers an area where Aussies love to stay including Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu - said that gay-friendly accommodation is 'tainting Bali's tourism', which highlights the intolerance that many Indonesians have toward LGBTI people.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia - apart from the heavily Saudi-influenced province of Aceh where strict sharia law is practised. Proposed new laws last year sought to criminalise homosexuality, but as with the 'bonk ban' laws - it currently on ice.

One of the offensive social media posts targeting gay-friendly hotels.
One of the offensive social media posts targeting gay-friendly hotels.

Bali has long been the crown prince of gay-friendly destinations in Asia despite being in a country that is the world's most populist Muslim nation. Globally the pink dollar is serviced by thousands of travel apps, websites and blogs that focus exclusively on the paradise island's LGBTQ hotels, villas, bars, spas, nightclub and restaurants.

They now carry travel warnings about the crackdown. One Legian resort, called M. A. N resort, day club and spa, would not allow this female News Corp reporter to enter its grounds because it imposes a strict male only policy.

The walls of the reception area reminded guests that prostitution and drugs were also not tolerated.

Travel professional Brett Smith, 33, from Victoria, believes the enforcement of these previously unknown statements that restricts marketing to exclude the LGBTQ sector will not end well for Bali.

"It's the implication that Bali might not be a welcoming place for LGBTI people. Anything to challenge that would have an impact on the island. It's not the tourists that will be hurt, is it the businesses that provide services to any sector of the market. These business owners can't choose where they live while tourists - gay or not - have all the choice and will simply go somewhere else," Mr Smith said.



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