Caribbean | Crime | Travel

St. Maarten Gay Bash Update

Finally, some action from the island of St. Maarten. But is it too little too late? St. Maarten's top tourism official called last week's attacks "barbaric and inhumane" on Wednesday, adding, "These kinds of crimes won't go unpunished on St. Maarten."

According to the island's Daily Herald, three detectives are investigating and a probe is underway by the public prosecutor into the police department's non-response to the attacks.

Here's another report on the condition of Jefferson and Smith after the St. Maarten gay bashing attack.

StmaartenThe incident also opened up a difficult situation for Ryan Smith's family. Smith's boyfriend Justin essentially had to out Smith to his parents when he called them to report the incident. Talk about your difficult phone calls! Smith's mother seems to be handling the news with tact and love, even if she may not be ready to deal with her son's sexuality: "Smith's parents did not know who he was and yet he had to tell them their son had been gravely injured. When he was pressed to explain why the assault happened, Swensen said, he finally explained that it was a hate crime because he and Smith are gay. 'Ryan hadn't told them that before,' he said. Patricia Smith is not ready to talk about those issues. She is unwavering in her love for her son and her sense of injustice. 'It doesn't matter if I know, if my husband knows,' she said. 'What's important is that these hate crimes are unjustifiable for any reason.'"

Amen. Our wishes are with Ryan and Richard.

St. Maarten Gay Bash Victim Speaks Out [tr]
Brutal Gay Bashing on St. Maarten [tr]

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  1. It's really time to steer the gay dollar away from the Caribbean. Let's go to places where we are welcomed, as few as those places may be! The sun is bad for your skin anyway.

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 13, 2006 9:21:34 AM

  2. Thank you for all the gay-bashing coverage.

    It's the kind of thing that gay media and gays-in-denial don't give much attention to.

    Da' Nile ain't just a river in Egypt!

    Posted by: Marc | Apr 13, 2006 9:29:23 AM

  3. Isn't it the Grand Cayman that tried to refuse an Atlantis Cruise docking rights? Bill is right: the Caribbean is not a place where we are wanted…but then wouldn’t that mean we should move out of the US, since the anti-gay legislation seems so popular, right now? The bank account is the idol that is worshipped in the Caribbean. If we, as gay men and women ask—or, rather—demand gay resorts, restaurants, shopping etc. and do so with enough force to be considered legitimate, then we’ll see more tolerance and support and words of welcome.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 13, 2006 11:34:55 AM

  4. I know Ryan and I know what kind of man he is -- smart, curious, sensitive. I have spoken with his mother and with others involved in this incident. The bottom line is that the police in St. Maarten did not respond to the initial calls for help from a club owner -- when the harassment began -- nor did they respond after the brutal crime had been commited. Ryan and Dick didn't deserve this. But if ANYTHING good can come from this, perhaps people will realize that even in the beautiful Caribbean, it's still not safe to be who you are. I am illuminated in very disturbing, sad ways.

    Posted by: Jim | Apr 13, 2006 9:16:38 PM

  5. I attended college with Ryan Smith. He graduated the year after my freshman year. We both wrote for the same campus publication and I had NO clue he was gay.

    This is such tragic news! He was such a bright star. I hope he gets better soon. Because the college is super-conservative, no one is discussing it despite the fact that he was a star student.

    Posted by: david | Apr 14, 2006 6:42:08 PM

  6. Did anyone see the Rosie documentary on HBO where the cruise ship docks in the Bahamas?

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Apr 14, 2006 7:11:07 PM

  7. Hi,

    I'm writing from Calling for Equality, a California initiative to help overturn Proposition 8. This initiative is headquartered and focused on the key battleground county of San Diego but is active statewide. We are working to gain visible opposition to Proposition 8 across all levels of government, news media, and minority communities.
    We would like to ask for either a link exchange or even for a blog post about us! A sample blog post is provided on for convenience.
    The California Supreme Court will rule in the Spring, so we are pushing as hard as we can in the next four months. Posting an article or a link will make a meaningful difference as we gather more support for our efforts!

    Harold Canono
    Calling For Equality

    Posted by: harold | Jan 13, 2009 10:43:54 PM

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