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Lesbians Forced to Pay Cancellation Fees to Royal Brunei Airlines

Sultan of Brunei

Australia's largest retail travel outlet would not cover the cost.


Two lesbians canceled a flight after they learned it included a four-hour layover in Brunei -- and were shocked to learn they had to pay cancellation fees to Royal Brunei Airlines.

Flight Centre, Australia's largest retail travel outlet, informed Shannon, 26, and Jaqueline, 28, that they owed $AU300 -- the equivalent to about 213 U.S. dollars -- to the airline owned by the government of Brunei.

The Southeast Asian nation instituted harsh anti-LGBTQ laws on Wednesday, meaning that sex between men is now punishable with death by stoning and sex between women is now punishable with a whipping of 40 lashes.

The pair -- who are friends, but not a couple -- believed Flight Centre should cover this amount in light of the new barbaric laws that forced them to cancel. They booked their flights around a month ago, before the announcement of the anti-LGBTQ policy.

"It's not that we can't afford the cancellation fees. It's just that it's them putting a price on our life and that isn't right," Shannon told News Corp Australia.

Shannon, who said she could be visibly perceived as a member of the LGBTQ community, had feared for her safety during the layover. "Being a second-class citizen on a holiday? I don't need to do that," she added.

A Flight Centre spokesperson told News Corp Australia that the company could not waive the fees from the Royal Brunei Airlines. However, Flight Centre did forgive the cancellation cost from its own service.

Celebrities like George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres and even Republican politician Ted Cruz have spoken out against Brunei and urged a boycott of the hotels owned by the country's sultan, including the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel Air.

President Trump, who has a sordid history at the Beverly Hills Hotel, has been silent on the issue, despite his administration's new campaign to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide. The State Department attempted to fill this void by condemning the country's actions by calling them "torture," but still could not produce any real evidence that the U.S. would do anything.

"Governments have an obligation to ensure that all people, including LGBTI people, can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled," a spokesperson told The Advocate. "We strongly oppose human rights violations and abuses against LGBTI persons, including violence, the criminalization of LGBTI status or conduct, and serious forms of discrimination."

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.