Christian group threatens to hang gay people ‘in a loving way’ in terrifying leaked WhatsApp messages
The LGBT+ community in the Cayman Islands is on high alert after leaked messages revealed a Christian group threatening to “hang one or two” gay people.
The “disturbing and dangerous” messages, first reported by the Cayman Compass, were anonymously leaked by a member of a Christian WhatsApp group.
The messages, which show an incomplete snippet of a discussion about gay and LGBT+ rights, are from members of Cayman Caribbean Cause – a Christian group that includes prominent leaders from the church community in the Cayman Islands, which are a British Overseas Territory.
In one, a member suggests “maybe hang one or two [gay people] in a loving way” as a warning to others.
Another message suggested implementing teachings from the Quran to criminalise homosexuality, reading: “If this was a Muslim country, they’d be [thrown] out by the thousands.”
Another message contains a secretly taken photo of politician Kenneth Bryan meeting with members of LGBT+ group Colours Cayman.
The group, which is part of LGBT+ advocacy network Colours Caribbean, is demanding a full police investigation into the messages.
Police commissioner Derek Byrne initially released a statement to local media saying that the people who sent the messages were “operating in a space of free speech”.
“They have ensured not to breach boundaries that would amount to suspected criminal behaviour,” Byrne wrote the Cayman Compass.
In a statement released yesterday, Colours Caribbean said Byrne’s remarks were “legally questionable at best”.
“Threats of hanging, however dressed up, or suggestions of how to ‘eradicate” LGBT+ people by any means go well beyond causing alarm and distress to our vulnerable community – they are exceptionally disturbing and dangerous,” Colours said.
“The statement by commissioner Byrne has a sinister and compounding impact on LGBT+ people that he should be reprimanded for as it could, itself, be construed as criminal.
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“By his negligence, the commissioner, hopefully unintentionally, has risked giving the ‘green light’ for people to harass, alarm and distress an already marginalised community without any criminal consequences.”
The police later released a revised statement and said that the initial comments by Byrne had been taken out of context.
In the second statement, the police said that while no criminal complaint had been made, an investigation would be carried out.
Noel Cayasso-Smith, head of the LGBTQ Foundation, whose upcoming fundraising event was referenced in the messages, said that they were “very scary”.
Cayasso-Smith said he was in touch with the police and had hired additional security for the event. The LGBTQ Foundation has not received any direct threats.
Same-sex marriage was legalised in the Cayman Islands in 2019, following a lawsuit by a lesbian couple. However later that year, the islands’ government won an appeal to overturn the legalisation.