At least four villas in Bali are reportedly under investigation by disapproving Indonesian authorities for allegedly “marketing themselves specifically for the gay community”.
Indonesian outlet Coconuts reported authorities were looking into one villa at the Seminyak Beach Resort.
The villa marketed itself on Facebook as “Angelo Bali Gay Guesthouse” and attracted local attention for appearing to be seeking out gay tourists. As a result, the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) announced they were looking into the matter.
“We received a report, including the one on social media about this villa, accommodation or a guesthouse marketing themselves specifically for the gay community,” Satpol PP head I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara said.
“Their website highlights the villa as specifically for the gay [community]. Here in Bali we don’t recognise that culture.”
On TripAdvisor the villa is described as “a small, luxurious, all-men, clothing-optional gay guesthouse”. But on January 9, the villa stopped operating.
Later, Satpol PP said three other villas were also being looked into for similar marketing.
Badung’s Cultural Agency head, I Made Badra, said the presence of gay villas would “taint” Bali’s tourism reputation.
“According to our standards of procedure [we] will check their permit documents and whether or not they match what they are allotted for,” Badra said.
“If there is proof that it [caters to the gay community] then we will temporarily close the property.”
Australian outrage over proposed Bali sex ban
Homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia. However leaders have increasingly targeted the country’s LGBTIQ community with homophobic rhetoric and police raids in recent years. Bali has long had a reputation of being more tolerant.
Last September, the Indonesian government unveiled “draconian” new laws to ban consensual sex outside of marriage in Indonesia. The proposed laws would have, as a result, also criminalised all homosexual sex.
After global backlash, President Joko Widodo quickly backed down, postponing the laws indefinitely.
At that time, the Bali Hotels Association urged tourists to “stay calm and continue their activities as usual” after the outrage.
The Association stressed the government had not passed the unwed sex law and it could not be enforced.
More than one million Australians holiday in Bali every year, contributing millions to the local economy.
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