Air France has begun serving a new route to Iran – despite protests from gay air stewards.
The company is launching a new route from Paris to Tehran, the capital of the reclusive state, for the first time since sanctions were imposed against Iran in 2008,
However, the new route has been controversial with women and gay men working for Air France – after a memo instructed female staff members to wear heardscarves and trousers.
The company said it will introduce an exception so that female employees who don’t want to work on the route will be granted exemptions – but gay staffers say they are being forced to work the route.
Iran continues to enforce the death penalty for homosexuality.
Laurent, a gay air steward, started a petition calling for gay staff to be allowed to opt-out of the route that has attracted tens of thousands of supporters.
He urged the company to “grant gay crew members the right to refuse to go to a country where they could be killed for who they are”.
The petition continues: “Homosexuality remains illegal in Iran. The penalty is up to 74 lashes for a minor, to death penalty for an adult,
“Of course, sexuality is not written on passports and doesn’t change how we work… but it is inconceivable to force someone to go to a country where they are condemned for being who they are.”
“It’s also inconceivable to ask the people who fought for equality in their country, or fought for their family to be recognized, to hide who they are for their profession.”
The company’s gay cabin crew are upset they won’t be able to Fly the Flag of who they are
According to The Local, the Unac union says it is hopeful the opt-out will be extended”for the entire aircrew, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation”.
But for the time being, the gay stewards have not been granted any exemption.