Black Women Deported Back To U.S. After Tweeting About Life In Bali And Being LGBTQ

Black Women Deported Back To U.S. After Tweeting About Life In Bali And Being LGBTQ

Black Women Deported
Black Women Deported Back To U.S. After Tweeting About Life In Bali And Being LGBTQ. American graphic designer Kristen Antoinette Gray, left, walks with her partner Saundra Michelle Alexander, right, to be tested for the coronavirus at a hospital in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Gray, who arrived in Bali in January 2020 and wound up staying through the coronavirus pandemic, is being deported from the Indonesian resort island over her viral tweets that celebrated it as a low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

The government of Bali, Indonesia, deported two Black women back to the United States after one tweeted that the island was “queer friendly” and provided a “luxury lifestyle” at a low-cost.

Kristen Gray, 28, and her girlfriend Saundra Michelle Alexander moved to Bali in 2019. In now-protected tweets, Gray said she had been “broke, struggling to find work the entire year.” Since she wanted to take a stab at entrepreneurship and was having no success at home, Gray said that she and her girlfriend booked one-way tickets to the island.

Though they hadn’t planned on staying permanently, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Gray said they hunkered down to “wait it out” and the move was “the perfect medicine.”

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Gray said not only was her graphic design business thriving, but being able to work in Bali as a “digital nomad” was helping her heal from childhood traumas.

She also said that Bali – the world’s largest Muslim-majority country known to be stern in its views against homosexuality – was friendly to the LGBTQ community.

Gray and her girlfriend, she said, were able to live in Bali in luxury at a fraction of what it would have cost in the U.S. “The island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at a much lower cost of living. I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” Gray tweeted.

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Gray concluded her tweet thread with a promotion for her e-book, “Our Bali Life Is Yours,” in which she encouraged other people to move to Bali during the pandemic and gave them tips on how to do so.

Many native Indonesians were angered by Gray’s tweets. Some said she was encouraging people to move to their home in the middle of a global health pandemic that is worsening, exploiting her Western privilege and that she may have evaded taxes. They also noted that she was out of touch with the island’s culture based on her assessment of the island as “LGBTQ friendly.”

Other critics said what Gray did was a form of gentrification that could potentially hurt native Indonesians if more Americans followed suit.

However, some defended Gray, saying the criticism was racially motivated.

When the authorities in Bali got wind of Gray’s viral tweets, they began an official investigation into the couple.

Jamaruli Manihuruk, head of the Bali office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said findings revealed that Gray had likely violated the country’s information laws including “spreading information that could unsettle the public” by suggesting foreigners could enter Indonesia during coronavirus.

“The concerned foreign national is suspected to have done business by selling her e-book and putting up consultation fees on traveling to Bali, which means she can be subject to sanctions according to the 2011 Immigration Law,” Manihuruk’s statement continued, adding the action violated her visitor stay permit, Coconuts Bali reported.

Gray, who apologized for any offense through her attorney upon deportation, maintained she is not guilty.

“I have not overstayed my visa. I have not made money in Indonesian rupiah in Indonesia. I put out a statement about LGBT, and I’m being deported because of LGBT,” Gray said in a statement.