Although Air France announced earlier this week hat female flight attendants can opt out of flights on the carrier’s new route to Tehran after some said they didn’t want to cover their hair upon arriving in extremists Islamic country they are refusing to allow gay flight attendants to opt out over the fact that homosexuality is punishable by death.
Air France has denied the gay flight attendants request and even their union is backing the airlines decision.
Jean Marc Quattrochi, secretary general of Union des Navigants de l’Aviation Civile (UNAC), the union representing French flight and cabin crews, said in an article with Newsweek while the union is “sensitive to the problem” of LGBT stewards not wanting to fly to Iran, making special assignments based on sexual preferences, skin color or religion “is not acceptable for our union.”
“During the headscarf debate with Air France executives our demand was to allow all crew members to refuse this particular destination. For the sexual inclination the problem is totally different and does not only concern this destination. The fact for a woman is that we surely know she’s a woman, it’s written on her passport, When she arrives in Tehran, she will be forced to wear the scarf. For a gay person, nobody knows that he is gay.
When one steward is holding the hand of another steward in the streets, it’s his choice”
Personn’Ailes Association, the LGBT Union for Air France/KLM, said in a statement that it also agrees with the airline. Air France/KLM and its subsidiaries are required to fly to many countries where LGBT rights are virtually non-existent, and “where repression is exercised even up to the death penalty.” While the human rights situation in Iran is “terrible” and “shocking,” the union does not want to create “internal lists of persons based on their sexual orientation,” he said.
Currently more than 26,000 people have signed a Change.org petition, created by someone known only as “Mr. Laurent,” which seeks to give gay flight attendants the right to refuse travel to the country. The petition is addressed to the CEO of Air France, Frédéric Gagey, and France’s minister of transport, Alain Vidal.
Back2Stonewall asks that all its readers sign the petition.