I have never seen so much emotionally fueled hysteria. I think people are watching too many ISIS beheading videos or something, there is so much detachment from reality here. Some of you are so caught up in hypothetical scenarios as opposed to the real world.
As a person that has traveled in and out of Saudi Arabia dozens of times, bags are VERY RARELY searched, let alone computers and phones. That's one I have never seen. Do you think such few people have smart phones and laptops that somehow yours will draw special attention? That you are somehow a suspect and worthy of a search? There seems to be a real lack of understanding and perception. Okay, so you have a photo of your girlfriend or boyfriend on your phone or computer, or a message from someone you aren't married to, or your facebook page is somehow unislamic. Ah hah. This is at the top of your mind for some reason. Do you really think the customs agent or police officer at the airport is that focused on you, personally? You are really not that important to him. You are thinking about your phone, but he is NOT. There maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of people waiting in the customs line. So you are standing there sweating about some picture on your phone or computer. You are NOT personally that important to the guy processing you. You are not that special, worthy of a special search, when there could be thousands waiting for processing in the queue. He doesn't even know if you have anything of any interest of your phone or laptop, even though you do know, he doesn't know. See the difference? Again, you are not that important to the person processing you at Riyadh or Jeddah or Dammam, and probably at IKA
also. Some of you are afraid you will be detained for days or hours while your phone and computer are being searched. Again, do you think you are that important? They are doing their jobs, and your life is of no interest to them.
|Quoting LatAmFlyer (Reply 36):|
I am saddened to read on this thread all the dismissiveness about the social plight of LGBT folks. While I am also not gay, a lot of my friends are and I recognize that being socially stigmatized and physically threatened -- to the point of death -- of them either by a person or by a country is a very real concern and is not to be tossed about lightly. Some of the replies I've read are regrettable and those who've made them (are you one?) haven't come full circle yet in accepting that some people are different and that's the way life is.
That's quite heartfelt and you are right, but it's not really relevant to a crew member resting between flights and just keeping to him or herself. I have no idea what your point is. There is no gay machine you have to walk through in an airport. You missed the mark. Your emotions are not going to change policies in other countries. A flight attendant works for a business doing business in other countries no matter what the policies are. Business people have to travel to countries that are unsavory. So what.
|Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 96):|
Taking it to the extreme (or not), you could be a religious, Christian caucasian captain with five kids and wife from North Carolina happy about the new anti-gay regulations in NC as those protect "family values". A perfect role model for the likes of Ms. Palin. However if that captain travels with his Bible to read at night, while entering Saudi Arabia, "by the book" he could be prosecuted because of religious proselytism (which it is obviously forbidden in a place like Saudi).
Actually, if you have a single Bible, I doubt it's a big deal. It's the spreading of other religions that's a problem. Then just just have a soft copy of the Bible if it still worries you. Done.
|Quoting hrc773 (Reply 38):|
So, everybody has been sharing their opinion on whether or not it is safe for gay male flight attendants to work flight to a country where it is "illegal to be gay". I don't see many opinions on the airline's duty to protect those flight attendants.
I have a slightly different story but much related to this issue. Back when I was working as a F/A, I took a pleasure trip to China with my buddy, when my airline first started flying to mainland China. As we were landing, we filled out our landing cards which included a question about your HIV status. My buddy is HIV positive and he disclosed his status in the landing card, mainly because he had his medicine with him and didn't want to get caught lying. Sure enough, when clearing customs, he gets detained, denied entry and put on the same plane back to the US.
He immediately contacted his supervisor and explained what happened because he wanted to avoid flying into China, as he was now practically deported and didn't want to risk getting arrested if he attempted to enter again. Our airline flat out refused to back him up and he ended having to fly to China when he was on reserve. Luckily (I don't know how) he was allowed in when he worked the flights.
In my opinion, the airline should've done something to protect him.
Wow, checking yes, and admitting HIV on a form when entering a country? I don't see the relevance to the discussion here. There is no "are you gay" question on any immigration form that I know of. That aside, admitting to HIV was really dumb. What did he expect? Was deportation a surprise? Truth isn't always the best policy. Don't admit to that. So he had anti AIDS meds. Probably customs wouldn't know what the pills are for anyway if they had even looked. One time a security guard at the x ray machine wanted to see my medication in my carryon. He looked at it, and it was clear he had no idea what it was or what it was for. I was done in under a minute. But declaring he had AIDS? Wow, not smart. A shocking no brainer.
An airline having a "duty to protect?" What on earth are you talking about? What do you suggest? There is no gay detection machine at the airport, and those that set it off get sent to the firing squad waiting outside. Life isn't like that. People don't really care or are curious about your sexual orientation when you deplane.
|Quoting Independence76 (Reply 81):|
I'm a gay traveler myself and I see a few ways of looking at this.
If I were an AF F/A and I were to fly to a country which the government publicly states it criminalizes homosexuality with harsh punishment, I'd become immediately worried. Even if I don't break any laws while I have a layover there, there's still the concern of corruption of some sort. While the people of Iran are known to be more tolerant, the government is known to not be. I'm not saying that F/A's should or should not be allowed to opt out with this argument, but instead the fact that LBGT employees have a right to be concerned (not just in Iran, but any country with similar laws).
The "no need to be worried" argument is as stated above by some others who are more familiar with the country: "as long as laws are not specifically broken, you're completely ok." This is the more rational and realistic (external) approach, but does little to calm the (internal) concerns that many of us have. We know in our minds that we have a 99.9% chance of a safe trip, but unfortunately the feeling of danger, rejection, or harm for who we are is a common theme. It's easy for management to make decisions without that same experience, but it's up to the employees who know that experience to raise concerns, and they have a right to do so.
Then don't be a flight attendant if going to other countries is so frightening. Better yet just stay home. Oh, and there is "corruption of some sort??" Did you read what I wrote above? You are not that important to people. They don't care about you and whether you are gay or straight when you deplane. You are not special.
Is it okay if a cabin crew attendant doesn't want to go to Paris or Brussels due to terrorism? Is that okay too? We have proof it's not safe there. Can we opt out just based on feelings?
Whenever there is a thread like this, many of us that live in these countries will tell you what life is like here, but a lot you flatly refuse to listen. We kept telling you that if you come to Saudi Arabia or Iran and you are gay, nothing is going to happen to you. But you don't listen. Everyone else is not obsessed with what your sexuality is. I will repeat this again. No one else is not interested or obsessed with your personal sexuality, and what can be done to you if you happen to be gay. That's in your head. Just like in the customs line. Is the customs guy interested in your phone or laptop? No, of course not. You are not that special out of the thousands he deals with every day. He's just earning a living and feeding his kids like everyone else in life.
Saudi Arabia is loaded with gay people by the way, many of them flamboyantly so. A group of people were having breakfast in the hotel where I was also staying not long ago. I suspected they were cabin crew of an airline, there were some real flamboyant guys in that group, totally over the top. gender ambiguous. They seemed really worried, I am being sarcastic, they are laughing and carrying on with their colleagues. Coincidentally a local blatantly propositioned me in the lobby of this nice hotel, yes in Saudi. Oh and here we are on a.net thinking it's just so dangerous. BS
. Some of us have lived and worked in the middle east for years. Now some of you come to this forum, and have never even been here to these countries like Iran or KSA, then lecture us on how it would feel to be here and what it's like. When in reality, it is really, really hard to get in "trouble for being who you are" No matter how hard you argue to the contrary. No matter how much you are told, you refuse to believe. This is not the old East Germany or Soviet Russia where rooms are bugged and people watched for doing illegal things.