Published On: Thu, Apr 14th, 2016

Gay Air France Stewards Ask to Opt Out of Flights to Iran, Where Homosexuality is a Crime

Air-France [Photo: Andrew W. Sieber / flickr]

On the heels of Air France’s announcement that female cabin crew could opt out of flights to Iran when the airline resumes the route later this month, gay stewards arerequesting that same right.

In a petition addressed to both Air France CEO Frédéric Cagey and French Transport Minister Alain Vidalies,  the stewards asked that gay staff be exempt from having to serve on flights to the Islamic Republic, where homosexuality is criminalized.

The petition, which has at least 2, 300 signatures, notes that “punishment of homosexuals in Iran ranges between 74 lashes for a minor and the death penalty for adults.”

“It is unconscionable to force somebody to go to a country where [people of the same sexual orientation] are punished for who they are, ” it adds.

Air France agreed last Monday to allow female staff members who refused to comply with Iranian laws requiring the veiling of women to opt out of flights to Tehran. However, the airline has given no indication that it will extend the policy to cover gay stewards.

“The cabin crew profession inherently involves working in countries whose cultures and rules are very different from ours, ” the company told France 24. “Air France management always strives to ensure that staff members work in the safest environment possible.”

Trade unions have also not given the gay stewards the same level of support that they extended to the female flight crew. However, a spokesperson for one of the unions said that the opt-out policy should apply to all crew members, “regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”

When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani traveled to Paris in January, thousands took to the streets to protest Iranian human rights violations. Rouhani last monthreportedly cancelled a trip to Austria on account of protests.


[Photo: Andrew W. Sieber / flickr]

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