Air France Gay Flight Attendants Say No To Iran Route Citing Brutal Anti-LGBT Laws

Gay flight attendants working for Air France are not happy that the airline is once again reopening its route to Iran, as homosexuality is punishable by death in that country. They are demanding the right to refuse to fly on the Tehran route.

The airline will be resuming flights to Tehran on April 17 after international sanctions against Iran and its nuclear program have been lifted, eight years later. Cabin crew members who are gay now want to be able to opt out of the reopened route.

Earlier this month a row erupted when female cabin crew members were told to cover their hair during flights to Iran. Women members of the cabin crew were told they would have to wear loose-fitting clothing, such as long, loose pants and long skirts, but the head scarf requirement was what caused the female flight crew to object.

In that case, the French airline backed down by agreeing that women could refuse to fly the Tehran route if they objected to covering their hair.

Now gay members of the airline’s cabin crew are demanding to have the same right to opt out of the now controversial route to the anti-LGBT country. In a petition, titled “We don’t want to fly to death in Iran,” gay flight attendants want the same choice as their straight female counterparts.

The petition was launched by Laurent M. in the French language and translates to English as saying: “Air France has decided to return to Tehran. Before taking this decision, it did not ask flight attendants what they thought of the rights of women in this country, nor how they felt at the thought of having to wear scarves and wide trousers once at the destination.”

The petition continues by saying that fortunately, the unions intervened on behalf of the female flight attendants and the women were given the right by the airline to refuse to travel on the Tehran route.

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However, as homosexuality remains illegal in the Islamic Republic, they demand the same opt out option for gay stewards, due to Iran’s tough anti-gay laws.

“The penalty is up to 74 lashes for a minor, up to the death penalty for an adult (the method of execution remains at the discretion of the judge).”

As reported by RT News, the petition does point out that naturally, sexuality is not written on their passports and also doesn’t change the way the flight crew works. However, they state that for moral reasons, it is inconceivable to force someone to go to a country where his kind are condemned and murdered simply for being who they are.

The petition continues by saying while the flight crew understands the economics of the decision by Air France to reopen flights to Tehran, they say the moral issue is different, stressing that human rights in Iran are virtually non-existent.

According to the Independent Online, their reporter attempted to contact Air France for comment on the situation, but the airline has yet to respond.

[Photo via Flickr by Aiky RATSIMANOHATRA, cropped and resized/CC BY 2.0]