No Fly Zone

Air France’s Gay Stewards Refuse To Fly To Iran Over Fear Of Country’s Death Penalty

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Gay stewards for Air France outraged over Iran’s stance on homosexuality are crying foul over the re-opened Paris to Tehran route — and some are refusing to work on it.

One steward started a petition on titled “Gay stewards from Air France don’t want to fly to the death penalty in Iran” that has over 15,000 supporters.

Homosexuality in Iran is illegal. Some people are killed for being gay, and some gay men in Iran are even forced to have gender reassignment surgery even if they don’t identify as transgender.

The Local in France has the scoop:

“Sure, our sexuality isn’t written on our passports and it doesn’t change the way we work as a crew,” wrote ‘Laurent M’ in an open letter to the French government and the CEO of Air France Frédéric Gagey.
“But it is inconceivable to force someone to go to a country where his kind are condemned for who they are.”
The letter points out that homosexuality in Iran is illegal and comes with a penalty of 74 lashes for a minor, while adults can be given the death penalty.

However, it seems that ‘Laurent M’ doesn’t speak for all gay stewards for Air France.

A gay steward and member of the Air France LGBT union told The Local:

“This is not an idea we support. We cannot have lists of people based on their sexuality. If gay stewards don’t want to fly to Iran, then there are around 20 other destinations where gay rights are not recognized that they would have to opt out of too.”

A similar story made its way around the globe last week, when a group of stewardesses and female pilots refused to fly the route because it would’ve required them to wear veils.

That issue was resolved when union backers reached a compromise that allowed them to refuse to work the flights without fear of termination or retaliation. Let’s hope the gay stewards can work out the same arrangement.