Are you wondering what life is like as a gay or lesbian Flight Attendant? There seems to be a lot of talk about gay male Flight Attendants, but not about lesbian Flight Attendants or people who identify as female in the LGBTQIA+ scene in aviation. Are there lesbian or bisexual Cabin Crew? Let’s look into this subject further.
Unlike some other industries, the aviation industry is mostly known in many countries as being gay-friendly and accepting of all sexualities. Of course, this is great if you don’t identify as straight – to know you can go into a work environment that is inclusive and accepts you for you. It’s about time world!
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LESBIAN & GAY FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
Gay Flight Attendants
However when we think of ‘gay Flight Attendants’ – only one stereotype seems to come into our heads, and it’s the male Queen. Whilst this is often true, Queens are certainly not the only gay Flight Attendants to grace the skies. There are plenty of lesbian Flight Attendants, as well as bisexual, queer, transgender, intersex, gender fluid, gender diverse, asexual and questioning Flight Attendants. However these Flight Attendants often get forgotten when it comes to workplace inclusivity.
It seems in the world of aviation that Flight Attendants are either male and gay, or female and straight. And the females aren’t just straight, but come with perfectly manicured nails, perfect Flight Attendant hairstyles, perfect hourglass figures, face full of make-up with perfect contouring – the lot. There’s nothing anything in between. So where do lesbian or bisexual or any other female identifying Flight Attendants fit in if they don’t conform to that look? Do they even work there, do they stick out like a sore thumb looking like a big tomboy, or do they just try to blend in when they are on duty? Surely whatever the answer, it is lonely to feel like they don’t really fit in.
Life As A Lesbian Flight Attendant
I’m sure you’ve all met straight men who assume that if another man is gay, then they must fancy them, no questions asked. Well sadly the same applies for some females about lesbians. Some women will automatically assume the lesbian will just want to jump on them, which is ridiculously ignorant. Just like a straight woman doesn’t fancy every single male they see – gay or straight, the same applies for gay people! People aren’t simply attracted to someone because of their sex.
This ignorant way of thinking only makes many gay people feel they have to hide their sexuality to avoid making straight people feel uncomfortable. Of course it can also work the other way and cause some gay people to deflect the situation and instead of being made to feel uncomfortable themselves, they are very open about their sexuality, in turn causing some straight people to feel uncomfortable – giving them a taste of their own medicine as such.
In turn though, it can also sometimes make gay people come across as a bit cold – as they are worried not to seem too friendly or make you feel like they are flirting.
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Working As A Gay Or Lesbian Flight Attendant
Even though aviation is one of the most gay-friendly industries to work in, of course gay Flight Attendants still need to be prepared for the gay comments that will sometimes pop up in the galley. Often not directed at them as maybe the other Cabin Crew don’t realise their sexual orientation, but still derogatory none the less. Perhaps they were just talking about someone they know, or that they don’t understand why people are gay. Either way, it’s not appropriate and it’s certainly not nice to have to listen to if you are gay yourself.
And even though aviation is very gay friendly, it doesn’t mean all the Flight Attendants are open minded and accepting. Especially if you work in a multicultural airline such as Emirates, Etihad or Qatar where you will find Cabin Crew from all over the world – people’s background, education, religion, social acceptances in their country and even age may have raised them with different standards and morals to you. I would imagine the overall environment for a gay Flight Attendant would be much more open and accepting in for example a British airline, Australian airline or a US airline, than in an airline in a country where being gay is still not ‘allowed’ – for example in many Middle Eastern counties.
As a straight female, I personally loved working with gay Flight Attendants. They were always full of energy, a bit sassy, and I just always seemed to vibe with them and get on well. I must have worked with hundreds of gay male Flight Attendants, but I never recall working with a lesbian Flight Attendant. Perhaps they were just more low-key than their male counterparts, or perhaps quite rightly they just didn’t feel their sexuality was anybody else’s business and so didn’t feel the need to disclose it. Especially as the cabin is a female dominated workplace – so like above, they didn’t want the straight Flight Attendants to feel awkward in case they fancied them (which they wouldn’t anyway). Or they just wanted to avoid the hundreds of questions from curious people who either wanted to experiment with a lesbian or ask what it was like. There are of course lots of lesbian Flight Attendants in many airlines around the world.
Of course, a Flight Attendant’s seniority may also have an impact on whether they feel like they can disclose their sexuality to co-workers. If a Flight Attendant is new, they may want to hide the fact that they are gay, in the fear of not being liked, or because they don’t yet understand the dynamics in the company or don’t have any other close Flight Attendant friends to talk to about it. However, their confidence will come over time as they get more senior in the company and learn to stand up and be proud!
Can You Work As A Gay Flight Attendant For Emirates, Etihad or Qatar in The Middle East?
In Abu Dhabi and Dubai (where Etihad and Emirates are based) and Qatar, homosexuality is illegal. If you are caught engaging in any homosexual act you can face going to jail for up to 3 years. Not only this but also a fine, being tortured physically and psychologically, deportation and possibly even the death penalty. Yes it’s that serious as these counties are Islamic countries who abide by the Sharia Law.
Despite homosexuality being very much frowned upon in these countries, there are plenty LGBT people here and homosexuality is prevalent in these countries (yes even many of the local people engage in homosexual acts). But to avoid being caught, many gay locals will marry someone of the opposite sex and have children with them, yet have secret same-sex affairs as a way to hide their homosexuality from society, avoid any shame associated with being gay and not be seen as breaking the law.
There are plenty gay Flight Attendants certainly in Etihad and Emirates and you will find gay dating apps such as Gindr in the UAE. You just need to keep a low profile, obviously don’t declare it at your Open Day / Assessment Day or to anyone working in the office.
How Can You Stand Up For The LGBTQIA+ Flight Attendant Community?
You don’t need to be gay to stand up for gay rights. Just the same as you don’t need to be a person of colour to stand up for black lives matter. Being an ally means that you don’t have to identify as LGBTQIA+ but you will stand up for, support and accept LGBT people and advocate for fair treatment.
Being an ally is actually so powerful as you have the power to help change people’s perspective, and you can act as a voice when a LGBTQIA+ person may be too scared to speak, or unable to defend themselves. And that can really be life changing. The LGBTQIA+ community are always so grateful for allies – sometimes they get so tired of trying to defend themselves or justify their feelings. Or they always feel scrutinised or just hate the awkward conversations or silences that occur, that sometimes they end up staying quiet as it’ can just seem like the easiest thing to do – even though they know they should always stand up for themselves. But having someone there who has got your back can honestly mean the world to them and remind them to stand proud.
As an ally you can:
- call other Cabin Crew out on their behaviour
- challenge homosexual views or comments made by straight Flight Attendants
- stand up for equal rights
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Are Most Male Flight Attendants Gay?
This is a question I have been asked so many times. It’s true that lots of male Flight Attendants are homosexual, but you will definitely find many male Flight Attendants who aren’t gay, especially in Qatar, Etihad and Emirates as the Cabin Crew salary is very good in The Middle Eastern airlines, and especially males who come from a country with a passport that isn’t very strong.
Having a job as a Flight Attendant can actually be a great job for a straight male – you get to work with mostly young beautiful women all day, and you get paid to travel. If you come from a country that doesn’t have a strong passport and you usually require a visa to travel to most countries, it can actually be a really smart idea to work as a Flight Attendant if you are a male, as the airline sorts out all the visas during your work trips, which can save you so much money and headache (visas can be very expensive, time consuming and stressful to organise!) and you can experience countries and destinations (and women of different nationalities!) you otherwise would have never had the chance to explore.
Whether you are gay, lesbian or not it doesn’t matter – if you have a dream to become a Flight Attendant don’t let anybody stop you! Send in your Cabin Crew CV and go attend that Cabin Crew Open Day/Assessment Day! Especially in this day and age the aviation industry is incredibly friendly and accepting – a lot more than it was in the past, so don’t ever think for a second that you don’t deserve that job. Your sexuality does not determine your worth!
Working As A Gay Or Lesbian Flight Attendant Summary
Thankfully nowadays we live in a world where most people are much more accepting than was of previous generations. Even if the last decade we have seen great advances in terms of equality and accepting people for who they truly are. And whilst there is still a minority of people that will probably never accept gay people, times have changed for the better.
There are many more Flight Attendants who are openly gay and don’t feel like they have to hide their sexuality. Passengers don’t stare as much as before when they see a gay male Flight Attendant with some make up on now. There is more visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community, and it isn’t as scary or as lonely as it once used to be for gay and lesbian Flight Attendants. Gay and lesbian Flight Attendants feel less and less the need to fit in and ‘pass as being straight’.
The aviation industry is certainly a lot more embracing to the LGBTQIA+ community than other industries are, and it can be a great place for gay people to work and feel welcomed. The aviation industry is known for being a bunch of people who are open to new experiences and cultures, meeting lots of different people and to opening their minds outside of their own bubble.
Interested in becoming a Flight Attendant? Here are some useful articles:
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