My first reaction upon learning of the arrest of two gay-cruise passengers who had sex on their ship’s balcony in full view of fellow passengers and islanders in Domenica was to think “Guys, enjoy yourselves, but in private, for God’s sake.” Straight sex, gay sex, any sex, these things don’t belong in full view of strangers, particularly strangers in a country where you are a guest.

My second thought was “What the hell were they doing there?” And people are indeed asking why Atlantis Events arranged for a cruise to stop in a country with anti-gay laws. Should they have?

My third thought: Of course gay cruises shouldn’t stop at anti-gay ports. To heck with such ports. They don’t get to earn money from people they hate. Nor should gay people put themselves at risk. No-brainer.

Then I remembered that the best way to overcome homophobia is to encourage visibility. LGBT people in anti-gay countries are generally closeted, therefore they don’t get to know each other and straight people don’t get to know them. Fertile ground for myths, lies, and hatred. Maybe anti-gay ports are where happy, out gay people who can afford cruises should be stopping, precisely because those places need to witness happy, out gay people doing the normal things that people do. (Though of course we Americans lose points with locals when we show up abroad in our big sneakers and our loud, plaintive voices.)

This argument, of course, casts LGBT people in the role of ambassadors. Though we live in parlous times and LGBT ambassadors are sorely needed–hence Dan Savage’s oft-repeated calls for closeted people to come out for the community’s sake as well as for their own–does that obligate anyone? Just because I’m x, one might retort, doesn’t mean I have to engage in x identity politics or convince people not to be prejudiced against x’s as a group. I just want to live my life and enjoy my cruise. [And have sex in my cabin, for God’s sake.]

What do you think, readers?