news

Gay Air France stewards protest plans to make them fly to Iran

2016-04-13
Gay air stewards working for Air France are protesting against ebing made to work on the airline's reinstated flight route to Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death. After union intervention, Air France's stewardesses have already been told they will not have to work the new route to prevent them from having to wear a head scarf, but now the company's gay employees have raised their concerns over being made to travel to a country where homosexuality is illegal. Air France is offering flights from Paris to the Iranian capital Tehran as of next week, while British Airways are among the other European airlines planning to re-open the route later in 2016. Some of the French airline's employees have voiced their concerns at the plans saying, "we don't want to fly to the death penalty." Adult men found to have engaged in gay sex face the death penalty in Iran, usually administered by hanging, while minors receive 74 lashes for the same crime. A representative for the workers wrote an open letter to the French government and CEO of Air France, Frédéric Gagey, saying, "Sure, our sexuality isn't written on our passports and it doesn't change the way we work as a crew. But it is inconceivable to force someone to go to a country where his kind are condemned for who they are." They added, "It is also ethically inconceivable to ask the people who fought in their country, in their environment or even in their family to be recognized for who they are, to cover up beyond their borders, for their profession." A petition from the group on change.org has already attracted 2,500 signatories. TEHRAN Iran is an Islamic republic, home to some 75 million people. After decades of mutual suspicion and occasional aggression, it is currently experiencing more relaxed relations with the West, due in part to the nuclear deal President Obama struck with them in January. Any type of sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage is strictly forbidden in Iran, and their laws on homosexuality are severe. Curiously, their restrictive laws to do not extend to transgenderism, and the country is said to carry out more gender confirmation surgeries than any other country after Thailand. More stories French court: Calling a male hairdresser a f*ggot isn't homophobic Interview: Author Saleem Haddad on the Middle East's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' gay culture