For Kristen Gray, Bali proved to be a dream come true, and the 28-year-old American wanted to share that dream—specifically, how the island is tolerant toward the LGBT community and Black visitors like her, and how others should move there. The Indonesian government, however, didn't exactly appreciate her amateur ambassadorship. 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 dangerous activities" and "spreading information that could unsettle the public." The charges revolve around a recent Twitter thread in which Gray gushed about how cheap it was to live the high life in Bali, and how "queer friendly" the locals are. She's also been pushing an e-book co-written with Alexander, entitled Our Bali Life Is Yours. The two ditched the high-cost US in January 2019; they originally planned to stay in Bali for six months, but the pandemic has kept them there.
Per BuzzFeed, Gray, a graphic designer, has long been posting pictures and videos on Instagram and TikTok showing how the couple was living it up in Bali, and the Times notes she wrote that her book had "direct links to our visa agents and how to go about getting into Indonesia during COVID." But her most recent post was the last straw. Bali officials and locals were irked that she and Alexander were promoting the LGBT lifestyle in a nation where same-sex marriage isn't legal, that they're encouraging foreigners to visit as the pandemic rages on, and that visitors like them are spurring gentrification. Officials also say Gray's visa was set to expire this month. The two were deported shortly after their detention and were due to arrive in Los Angeles on Thursday after a stopover in Tokyo. "I have not overstayed my visa," Gray says, per the Guardian. "I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because I am LGBT." (Read more Bali stories.)