On travelling (to Jamaica)
As many of you will know, I'm not really keen on travelling. This has much to do with the dislike of leaving my zone of comfort, my fear of flying, etc. However, when I do have to travel, I try to inform myself of issues that might arise from travelling to the specific country I'm supposed to go to. For instance, like a lot of Europeans, I do not look forward to the idea of travelling to the US because of the issues with immigration (like privacy). Issues like these (luckily) still generate some press coverage so that most people know vaguely what to expect. Similarly, it's probably pretty well-known that you better don't start waving around Swastika's when you're visiting Germany.
However, people intending to travel to the first KDE Americas event (which will apparently be in Jamaica next January) might not be aware that Jamaica doesn't sound to be a nice place to go to if you're LGBT (Lesbian/Bi/Gay/Transgender). See for instance the Wikipedia article on Jamaican LGBT rights, Human Rights Watch or this Time article.
Now since I won't go anyway (like I said, I don't like travelling) this doesn't influence me into not going there. Yet I think it's only fair to bring it to the attention of people intending to go, so that they don't have unpleasant surprises when they find out about it after confirming to go...
What a depressing way to
What a depressing way to plan-on-not-traveling.
unfortunately it is true. Many things in this world are depressing, though.
Hopefully somebody local will give advice. There are many parts of the world where you have to be careful for various things, so I think having a clear picture of cultural differences and real and perceived risk is a good idea. ie what to do and not to, and how safe are you if you do X? And then given that, is it worth your going?
Personally, I'm still planning to go.
nothing wrong with preparing
Well yea, nothing wrong with preparing. Its different to plan on not going and then find reasons why you shouldn't.
Reasons not to go
Well, I'm not sure it's really a reason not to go. Akademy's likely to be a fairly insular event, so I doubt it would be much of an issue unless you intended to bring a SO (possibly not even then) or go touring the town.
I certainly have no intention of missing my first Akademy because of the homophobic views of the country's denizens, but it's definitely something to be aware of.
I agree with you on the US, though. Whether privacy concerns stopped me going would depend on how important the trip was, but I wouldn't take a laptop or a PDA unless it was empty of personal data.
Re: Reasons not to go
Well, when going to the US you can indeed just leave your electronics at home so that they won't be searched. Being LGBT is part of what you are, though, which seems hard (or at the least very saddening) to just leave at home during a holiday.
Furthermore, it's not just the homophobic views of the country's inhabitants, unfortunately we have those in Europe as well (although luckily not nearly that shamefully excessive). Views are one thing, but actual actions (violence) are a completely different ball-game. It's also that it is just plain illegal, which just adds another dimension of creepiness to it (it's plain government-sanctioned discrimination).
But that's just me, of course...
You might want to check http://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page they have great info and warnings about traveling to any country and it's all CC licensed.
Things to not do when going to Jamaica
Bringing your significant other along. Yeah, we don't really like seeing that. Although to be honest, if you're not a) kissing b) screwing in public no really cares. I.e. the police won't arrest you. Holding hands might get you the odd look.
Jamaicans are the best people
Jamaicans are the best people to meet. Especially if you do so on their own turf. I worked on various cruises from New York and got to meet all sort of people but my favorites are Jamaicans. They're always smiling and willing to help. I wish I can visit Jamaica some day.