American who tweeted Bali was queer-friendly is being deported

Clay Curtis
January 22, 2021

Gray described Bali as "the ideal medicine" to cure her American life, and praised the island for its "safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, [and] queer friendly and Black in Bali community".

Bali immigration authorities deported two United States citizens, identified as Risten Antoinette Gray and Saundra Michelle Alexander, on grounds of having violating immigration rules while staying in the world-renowned tourist island.

Gray, who is black, wrote that she was enjoying "an elevated lifestyle at a much lower cost of living" - adding that the popular tourist destination is "queer friendly" and home to a big "black in Bali community".

However, it didn't end well as her posts were considered to have "disseminated information disturbing to the public", which was the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. The New York Times reports that immigration officials arrested Gray on Tuesday and deported her and her partner, Saundra Alexander, claiming Gray was "carrying out risky activities" and "spreading information that could unsettle the public".

"In March, when the pandemic hit and our six-month plan went out the window, we made a decision to stay in Bali to "wait it out" and we've been here ever since", she added, noting that some of the "major benefits of moving to Bali" include the "luxury lifestyle", "low cost of living" and it being "queer-friendly". Some Twitter users were outraged over Kristen's tweets.

On Sunday, the graphic designer's Twitter posts went viral. Officials also said that Gray had advertised she could be hired for consultation about visiting Bali at an hourly rate.

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Gray also drew criticism for crediting the "elevated lifestyle" to her $400 "treehouse" - certainly less expensive than some Los Angeles properties, but more than the monthly provincial minimum wage in Bali, of just $177 a month, according to local media.

Gray has since set her social media accounts to private, or removed them entirely.

"She stated that she could provide easy access to Bali through the recommended agency and offered the low living costs in Bali, that is comfortable and LGBTQ+ friendly", he said.

"I am not guilty". "I have not overstayed my [tourist] visa. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT", she said. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah.

Indonesia last month tightened border restrictions to stop the entry of all foreigners, with the exception of diplomats and those with existing work or residency permits, in a bid to stem the spread of more contagious variants of the novel coronavirus.

As of yesterday, January 19, Gray is now detained at the Immigration Detention Centre in Denpasar to await the next available flight to the United States.

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