Gay Cruise Ship Sparks Viral Controversy After It Capsizes In Mexican Region Overwhelmed By COVID-19

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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A boat belonging to the gay cruise company PV Delice Party Cruise capsized off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on New Year’s Eve with about 60 attendees onboard, according to multiple reports. Pictures of the boat surfaced on social media and spread online after GaysOverCovid, an anonymously run Instagram account with more than 88,000 followers, posted about the event. The passengers appear to have all been rescued.

Out & About Puerto Vallarta reports that tickets for the open-bar cruise were advertised at $120 in a pre-sale and $150 on the day-of. The party, organized by promoter and gay circuit scene impresario Jeffrey Sanker, has faced massive criticism, given that Mexico has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases over the last several weeks, in part because of an influx of American tourism, and the region in which the party took place had reached 100% hospital capacity due to COVID. Social media users expressed their outrage at the cruise on GaysOverCovid, which has been calling out members of the LGBTQ community for ignoring social distancing recommendations from the CDC amid the global health crisis.

However, others have expressed their frustration with GaysOverCovid public-shaming tactics; one person even offered $500 to find out who is behind the GaysOverCovid profile.

Several figures in the LGBTQ community have weighed in on the fallout of the boat capsizing and the reaction prompted by GaysOverCovid. Former LGBTQ editor at ThinkProgress, Zach Ford, authored a viral Tweet thread explaining the circuit parties, Insta-gay culture, and the nuances around the debate.

He brought up how the circuit parties reflect some gaping biases and disparities. An example he used was Mike Schulz, a nurse who was put on a ventilator after contracting COVID at a circuit party. He then raised over $20,000 to pay for his own medical care and, according to Ford’s thread, continues to attend parties, calling them “survival of the fittest.”

“The people dismissive of COVID precautions are endangering the rest of us, whether it’s to go to circuit parties or to go to church,” Ford wrote. “The priority of finding in-group community and willingness to reject out-group concerns is exactly the same.”