Photo via Facebook

An Australian woman has taken to social media to call attention to the "blatant homophobia and discrimination" she claims to have experienced during a flight.

Kristina Antoniades and Merrin Hicks of Victoria were flying with their daughter, Lily, from Brisbane to Melbourne on Monday, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Despite purchasing three consecutive seats, Antoniades says that airline Qantas tried to separate her family so that a straight married couple could sit together.


"They did not acknowledge that we were a family and wanted to sit together," she posted on Facebook Nov. 9.

Screen shot of Kristina Antoniades' Facebook post (via SBS World News)

The matter was later resolved—or at least appeared to be resolved—and the family boarded to take their seats next to each other on the plane. But mid-flight, a Qantas staff member allegedly accused them of separating the aforementioned straight couple. Antoniades was, once more, put in the unenviable position of having to defend the legitimacy of her family to a stranger.

"[The flight manager] demanded to see our boarding passes," she said in the Facebook post. "We produced them and again she asked why we were not allowing the married couple to be seated together. I again told her that Merrin was my Partner and Lily our daughter. I told her we had just as much right to be seated together as the married couple. She simply walked away. She did not offer an apology."


Antoniades said the experience left her "in tears" and "humiliated."

"I have never experienced such blatant discrimination," Antoniades posted on Facebook. "It was such a terrible experience and I am saddened that our daughter had to witness this."

Screen shot of Kristina Antoniades' Facebook post (via The Sydney Morning Herald)

Anna Brown, a human rights lawyer with the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, told SBS World News that "constantly having to explain that you actually are a family" and other forms of microaggression and discrimination "add up and take their toll."


"Governments and businesses should be thinking about how they can proactively make their services inclusive and run training on unconscious bias with employees," she said.

A Qantas spokesperson says that airline staff have contacted the family to apologize for the "unfortunate misunderstanding." The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Qantas has gifted Antoniades and Hicks with frequent flyer points as a sign of goodwill, but SBS World News was unable to confirm this.


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