A villa in Seminyak is taking the spotlight and making headlines in Bali this afternoon after allegations surfaced that it exclusively catered to the gay community. Authorities on the island have since expressed their disapproval based on their belief that homosexuality is against cultural norms in Bali.
Earlier today, the local Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) said they are looking into allegations about the villa.
“We received a report, including the one on social media about this villa, accommodation or a guesthouse marketing themselves specifically for the gay community,” I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, who heads Satpol PP in Badung regency, told Tribun. “We will follow up on this issue.”
A number of local news outlets have taken to highlight the villa’s Facebook page, which appears to have been taken down at time of writing, though not before Coconuts Bali had caught a glimpse of its content.
Under the name “Angelo Bali Gay Guesthouse,” the page shared what appear to be photos of rooms and a pool typical of a beachside accommodation, occasionally featuring shirtless men and some of couples taken with the beach as the background.
The page’s “About” section describes the villa as an all-male, small and luxurious guesthouse, where clothing is optional.
According to its website, which is still accessible, the villa stopped its operations yesterday, though no explanation as to why was given.
The villa and its alleged specialty don’t seem especially troubling, but authorities on the island seem unhappy about its existence. Should they find evidence backing the allegations, Suryanegara said Satpol PP would urge the villa to tone down its gay-exclusive marketing, but he did not say if local authorities would shutter the guesthouse (possibly on the grounds that homosexuality is not illegal in Bali or most of Indonesia).
“Their website highlights the villa as specifically for the gay [community], here in Bali we don’t recognize that culture,” Suryanegara told Merdeka.
Another comment came from the head of the Cultural Agency in Badung, I Made Badra, who said that the existence of such a villa is “tainting Bali’s tourism” reputation.
A similar sentiment was also expressed by the head of Bali Villa Association (BVA), Gede Ricky Sukarta, who said that the accommodation’s marketing approach does not fit the ideals of tourism in Bali, which he said are largely focused on local culture and norms. He also added that accomodation facilities ought not to discriminate guests on the basis of sexual orientation.
Anti-LGBT sentiment are unfortunately high across Indonesia, with the country having witnessed a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in recent years. Bali, for its part, has held a reputation of being a generally more tolerant region, though authorities’ initial reaction to this latest viral news may indicate a reason to be concerned.
Coconuts Bali has attempted to contact the villa and will update this article once we get a response.
Read more news and updates from Bali here.