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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 11, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 10
Brutal attack in Saint Lucia
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Brutal attack in Saint Lucia

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Looking for some fun in the sun on your next vacation? Allow us to suggest a Hawaiian alternative to your Caribbean dream.

Seriously, Gay travelers, the U.S. State Department has not been releasing warnings about Gay travel in the Caribbean for their own health. On the contrary - it is for your health.

Jamaica may be at the top of the list as the worst offender, but Gay travelers should be aware that much of the rest of the Caribbean also has a long history of intense homophobia. Islands like Barbados still criminalize homosexuality, and some seem to be following Jamaica's more violent example. The Bahamas and St. Martin have had bad press, and now Saint Lucia is following suit.

The latest example of why Gays should take their vacations elsewhere (and demand that Gay cruise ships stop visiting countries where homosexuality is criminalized) can be found with the brutal attack of American Gay couple, Michael Baker and Nick Smith from Atlanta, GA, while visiting St. Lucia.

Boyfriends Michael and Nick, along with their friend Todd Wiggins, were returning to their mountaintop cottage on March 2 after taking in the sunset that evening. While Nick and Todd were in the shower, they heard Wiggins scream, warning them to stay in the bathroom.

According to new reports, Nick looked into the cabin's common area to see two men with knives and guns, wearing masks, beating his friend Todd.

Nick and his lover struggled to keep the violent intruders out of the bathroom, but they broke through and assaulted the two men, reportedly telling them they 'hated white people, Gay people, and Americans.'

The attackers tied the three men up, threw them in the shower, and ordered them to get off the island.

'They said they would check on us in five minutes, and if we had untied ourselves, they would kill us,' said Michael.

After the attackers left, the men freed themselves from the bindings and fled the cabin through a back exit, leaving their shoes behind. Shoeless and afraid, the three climbed down the mountain and then walked down an unpaved gravel road until eventually arriving at the home of Todd's friends.

Michael and Nick returned to the U.S. the following day, and Todd followed one day after.

'I don't know the full motivation that drove these five men, but I do know that I can feel pity for them,' wrote Michael on his Facebook account. 'As Todd said, how horrible that this was the only option that they felt they had.'

According to Globalgayz.com, a Gay-owned travel, news and culture website focused on LGBT life in countries around the world, 'For years, homosexuality has been frowned upon in St. Lucian society. Homosexuals and those suspected of the practice have been called names, been laughed and jeered at, and at times even attacked.'

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