SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — French gay airline stewards are rebelling over flights to Iran, a country known for its hardline stance against homosexuality.

The men say they don’t want to have to fly to a country where their sexuality is punishable by death. Their employer, Air France reestablished its route to Teheran last January. The move already caused a mutiny among Air France stewardesses when they were told to cover their hair and wear pants upon landing in the Iranian capital. After a much publicized battle, the women fought for and won the right to refuse Teheran flights.

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Now, Air France’s gay stewards want that same right of refusal. They have posted an impassioned petition to company’s CEO along with France’s Transportation Minister on Change.org that explains their position.

A photo of 4 masked executioners hanging a man opens the petition. It goes on to explain that the penalty for homosexuality in Iran ranges from 74 lashes for a minor, to execution by death for an adult.

“It is inconceivable that someone would be forced to go to a country where they are condemned for being who they are,” says the petition. It goes on to point out that Iran’s anti-homosexual laws run counter to the Social and Ethical Charter of Air France/KLM which “reflects a world view that is open and united.”

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So far, the stewards have not received the same backing from French labor unions the stewardesses had. Monday, a union spokesperson told Metro Newspaper the new policy for the stewardesses applies to all Air France staff.

San Francisco-based Change.org is a petition website that serves social causes. So far, the petition by Air France’s gay stewards has gotten more than 2300 signatures.


CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.

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