Being gay in the flight deck...

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888000
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Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by 888000 »

Hello everyone,

**I hope this is the right place to post this in (I'm new here, so please do let me know / move my post somewhere else if it's in the wrong section).**

I'll try to keep this short. Out of high school, I almost went to aviation school, however I chickened out because I wasn't sure the lifestyle fit me. I went into the corporate world instead. Finished my degree, worked for a bank, didn't really like it. At that time, I kept having second thoughts about the aviation field, so decided to try becoming a FA in order to see if I could sustain the lifestyle. I've been now FA for a major airline abroad (in the MEA region) for about 2 years.

The real reason I never pursued aviation was mainly due to the culture onboard. I've tried to spend a lot of time in the cockpit during my time here to 'test the waters' and speak to as many pilots as I could (at least the ones I felt comfortable talking to... which is not that many actually, at least here). Mostly female pilots were the ones who helped the most as they faced similar challenges dealing with the often 'macho' culture in the flight deck. Bottom line, it still feels like an old boys's club - and the topics of the day often revolve around the 'goods' of the female cabin crew at the back...

Although I've talked to many female pilots and their challenges, I've never heard the experiences of a gay pilot so I'm not sure where they stand. What I do know is that if you don't engage at the level the Captain expects you to, you might end up with an awkward 8 hour flight done in complete silence (which some female pilots attested to) - and that sounds like a pretty awful working environment... I am hopeful that it's better in the west, however I would like to hear your opinion.

As I'm now coming back to Canada, I need to make a decision if this is the right fit for me and I should pursue it..

I would like to hear your experiences working in the Canadian aviation context and hear from people who faced similar worries. Of course, anyone's opinion is welcomed.

Is it really 'as bad as it seems' ?

Thanks a lot in advance.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by North Shore »

There's a facebook page that a friend of mine runs: Canadian Aviation Pride, and also their website: canadianaviationpride.org.
As far as I'm concerned, anybody who makes any type of a deal about it is an idiot.

Good luck!
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by TeePeeCreeper »

I wear flannel shirts, fly old bushplanes, am completely non polically correct and suffer from machoism!

With that said, I couldn't care less if you are of the other persuasion. It's none of my business after all.

I sincerely hope and trust that my fellow co-workers and fellow breathern have the same views of equality and respect while on duty.

Follow your dreams. Don't let your sexual orientation, fear of judgement or misgivings dictate your career path.

All the best, masalam.
TPC
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Rockie
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by Rockie »

Don't let it worry you, nobody cares. But if you do end up working with a Neanderthal remember that he's going to be just as much of a d***head no matter what your preferences and probably nobody likes working with them. The flight deck is a unique place where you can chat for hours - or stay quiet for hours and it's all just normal.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by KAG »

Im straight, I don't care who you love, worship, colour of skin.
Its a much more excepting scene now then generations past. I was a bush pilot at Kenn Borek Air, my roomie was gay and awesome and this was 12 years ago. I currently work at Westjet and I know we have gay pilots, no one cares.
Have no fear my friend.
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fish4life
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by fish4life »

Don't worry about it, with so many different personalities it's easy to work with someone you get along great with talking to the whole time and others that you share nothing in common with. This will happen if you are gay or straight, so don't let being gay keep you from it. I've worked with gay guys I got along great with and straight guys I didn't, their orientation didn't have anything to do with it. Personally if someone is interested in the outdoors I'll get along better with them than if they are interested in video games but either way everyone is always professional it's just the extra talking that does t happen as much.
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SuperchargedRS
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by SuperchargedRS »

First off

There is zero room, or excuse to "be gay in the flight deck"

It's not approiate nor relevant.

Now if you want to be "crew in the flight deck" that's great, and your sexual life has zero place at work regardless of where you put what with whoever.

Do your job and keep it professional and you won't have any problems.

Frankly why would you even bring up your sexuality at work???

I'm straight, I don't go around telling everyone to accept me for being straight, I don't talk about straight sex, I don't have bumper stickers about straight pride, it's no one business but mine and my partners. I completely fail to see why people decide to be defined by their sex, color, or sexual preference.

Good friend of mine was in the military as a officer for quite some time, later a successful CEO, no one under his command, or in the company later really knew he was gay, because it wasn't any of their damn business and did not have any relevance on how he commanded his soldiers, or ran the company, he was fine of his sexual orientation, but he was also intelligent enough to know where it was and where is wasn't relevant.
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888000
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by 888000 »

Thank you so much for this, I will look into it! Cheers.

North Shore wrote:There's a facebook page that a friend of mine runs: Canadian Aviation Pride, and also their website: canadianaviationpride.org.
As far as I'm concerned, anybody who makes any type of a deal about it is an idiot.

Good luck!
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888000
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by 888000 »

Thank you for everyone who replied. It's reassuring to hear mostly positive comments / experiences.

:)
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by digits_ »

SuperchargedRS wrote: Frankly why would you even bring up your sexuality at work???
So he has to invent an imaginary wife? Or lie and say he doesn't have a boyfriend/husband?
Where you are from, if you have a family, what your partner is doing for work etc are very basic questions that pop up quite quickly the first few times you are flying with other pilots.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by SuperchargedRS »

digits_ wrote:
SuperchargedRS wrote: Frankly why would you even bring up your sexuality at work???
So he has to invent an imaginary wife? Or lie and say he doesn't have a boyfriend/husband?
Where you are from, if you have a family, what your partner is doing for work etc are very basic questions that pop up quite quickly the first few times you are flying with other pilots.
Where do you get this garbage from?

Where did I say any of that?




I don't have a wife, do I need to lie and make one up?

Are you saying gay folks done have a family??

Are you saying gay folks don't have partners who work?




You seem to be looking for problems where none exist bud
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by digits_ »

SuperchargedRS wrote:
digits_ wrote:
SuperchargedRS wrote: Frankly why would you even bring up your sexuality at work???
So he has to invent an imaginary wife? Or lie and say he doesn't have a boyfriend/husband?
Where you are from, if you have a family, what your partner is doing for work etc are very basic questions that pop up quite quickly the first few times you are flying with other pilots.
Where do you get this garbage from?

Where did I say any of that?
You said he shouldn't bring up his sexuality at work. Let's say our gay pilot has a boyfriend. How can he answer any questions/enter any conversations about relationships/partners without bringing up his sexuality?

The summary of your previous post seems to be "it doesn't matter that you are gay, as long as you keep it secret". Which I would find very hard to do unless you lie.

I don't think he should keep it a secret. There is a big difference between "advertising it with bumper stickers" and just mentioning it when it comes up in casual conversation.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by atphat »

Almost every flight I've ever been on the topic of family/kids comes up. No one is prodding. Just shooting the sh#t to pass the time. Of course the topic of sexual orientation would come up, indirectly. Unless both pilots just sit there and stare out the window. To the OP. I can't imagine anyone caring if you're gay. If you want to fly, fly.

Edit to add:
Indirectly my means of asking what your wife does etc. It's usually the default question.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by SuperchargedRS »

digits_ wrote:
SuperchargedRS wrote:
digits_ wrote:
So he has to invent an imaginary wife? Or lie and say he doesn't have a boyfriend/husband?
Where you are from, if you have a family, what your partner is doing for work etc are very basic questions that pop up quite quickly the first few times you are flying with other pilots.
Where do you get this garbage from?

Where did I say any of that?
You said he shouldn't bring up his sexuality at work. Let's say our gay pilot has a boyfriend. How can he answer any questions/enter any conversations about relationships/partners without bringing up his sexuality?

The summary of your previous post seems to be "it doesn't matter that you are gay, as long as you keep it secret". Which I would find very hard to do unless you lie.

I don't think he should keep it a secret. There is a big difference between "advertising it with bumper stickers" and just mentioning it when it comes up in casual conversation.
No secret.

But when you say "my partner" do you follow that up with "...a female", of course not.

Point is, it ain't a issue unless you make it a issue, many folks let their color or sexuality define them, to me this is almost a mental disorder.

But yeah, if it somehow comes up, "hey Jo, so you're single? My wife has a really hot girlfriend in town" saying "thanks, but I'm gay, do appreciate the offer" it's a complete mute point.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by Teamflyer »

you should join http://www.ngpa.org/
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by cgzro »

10 years ago I was at a dinner with my wife and about 40 other pilots. One of the pilots came to the dinner in full drag... and was very serious about it. Nobody really paid it much attention, it was in fact quite an impressive display of "who cares". This from a bunch of airshow/aerobatic adrenaline junkie macho type pilots was quite unexpected but pleasant to observe.

Now if the guy had come all in favour of automation / side sticks he would have been in big trouble in that crowd for sure... far more sensitive issue ;)
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by JohnG »

888000,

There are companies out there that are very traditional, and some that are more progressive. Go to flight school, do what you love, and if you're good at what you do, you can come work for Porter Airlines!

Image
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by complexintentions »

In the words of John Oliver,

"How is this still a thing?"

Which is not to be dismissive of the original poster's concerns, only to add my voice to those that say it should not be an issue whatsoever.

What most people have less tolerance for is the militants and the zealots, the ones with something to prove or the desire to "educate" everyone else. (Speaking generally, whether the topic is politics, religion, or the consumption of meat.)

Thankfully I'd like to think we're getting to the point - in Canada at least - where one's sexual orientation has lost its ability to so much as raise an eyebrow and people can just live their lives as they choose.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by Gilles Hudicourt »

Airlines like realiable, fit, trustworthy, smart, automous, honest, sensible, well balanced and competant people. You fit in that mold, you will fit in a cockpit.
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by Qdrivermann »

I couldn't care less what orientation somebody has... some of the nicest, friendliest and most competent people I know in aviation are gay. Being professional in the flightdeck and out of the flightdeck is important. There is no reason to flaunt or sell your orientation to colleagues. I do not discuss my wife or family nor my own orientation at work unless I am asked. I hang out with my crews all the time and some of the best times I've ever had was hanging with the openly gay flightdeck/cabin! Great people. There are however several oldfashioned Captains at the company where I am employed and they are not supportive of the gay community.
A few months ago I witnessed a scene at the Geneva Airport departure lounge that has forever changed me. Two openly gay men embraced each other before one departed to his gate. What I saw was two human beings displaying an unconditional love for one another - something I have never seen before, not even in the hetero world. Everybody who saw this embrace, men and women stopped and looked. It touched all of us - and for the first time in my adult life I saw the esscence of human love displayed between two people who love each other. It is not everyday you see something so powerful or pure as what I witnessed that morning in Geneva. I told my wife about that later when I came home and I shared this story with two First Officers who are gay and who happen to be close friends. My wife and I wondered if gay people actually experience a level of intimacy and love that hetero couples rarely reach? I mean, there is not much intimacy left in our hedonistic and narcistic lives is there? Anyways, aviation tends in general to be gay friendly so don't have any hesitations to pursue a flightdeck career - but as others have mentioned earlier know your company, corporate culture and surroundings before opening up - there is still unfortunately a lot of bigotry and ignorance in the world.
All the best!
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by andy_mtl »

Greetings !

First of all Superchargedrs... please be realistic. Everyone when you go fly will ask you about if you have a gf wife bf husband or what else.

My experience in a few words:

Started off in a skydive centre where i spent 3.5 summers. At first i was a bit terrified of the idea of coming out at work.
Eventually i did.. maybe a week into it.

I had only great experiences there.
Even tho the skydive world is filled with the super duper macho ego thing... if didnt bother me or them any bit.

I have only good memories from my paradrop days.

After that i moved up to Thunder Bay to fly for Thunder, and again nothing but good comments there too.
I remember coming out to one of my captain in fort severn. It was hilarious actually. Dave if you re reading this!

At Thunder everyone made me feel welcome and not judged. Made some great friends along the way, and educated some people on the topic , that, up north isnt being discussed much.

Finally i moved over to Jazz.
I believe Jazz must be the most accepting and welcoming employer in the industry to anyone that is different if so i can say. Meaning race sexuality and so on everyone is accepted.
My training class was just awesome. All the guys were really great. I tried to lay low... but only lasted about 45 mins when they asked ... tell us something about you and i go :
I love to go Hunting!
(Everyone looking like.. wtf?)
And i complete me sentence:
Hunting.... at the mall for specials! Lol!

Anyway, moving onto the line i flew in yvr for a few months in yyz for another few months and finally back to yul.

Every captain i fly with ends up asking me if i have a gf ( seriously guys? You even bother asking? :lol:
And when i state i have a partner they all understand.
Havent had any issues to date, couple of guys stop the convo rather quickly wich is ok and i respect that. Some other ask more questions and thats cool too.

There will always be the person that wont underatand why but i m not there to change their ideas or anything.
Im there to do my job be a professional and have fun doing it.

If you have any questions feel free to Pm me.

Also like stated above, canadian aviation pride on fb is a great group.

Cheers,

Andy
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by Rowdy »

I'll never forget the laughter that ensued after you said that Andy :)
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by mmm..bacon »

cgzro wrote:10 years ago I was at a dinner with my wife and about 40 other pilots. One of the pilots came to the dinner in full drag... and was very serious about it. Nobody really paid it much attention, it was in fact quite an impressive display of "who cares". This from a bunch of airshow/aerobatic adrenaline junkie macho type pilots was quite unexpected but pleasant to observe.

Now if the guy had come all in favour of automation / side sticks he would have been in big trouble in that crowd for sure... far more sensitive issue ;)

Were ya hangin' out with peeps from the other forum? :lol:
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by atpilot »

TeePeeCreeper wrote:I wear flannel shirts, fly old bushplanes, am completely non polically correct and suffer from machoism!

With that said, I couldn't care less if you are of the other persuasion. It's none of my business after all.

I sincerely hope and trust that my fellow co-workers and fellow breathern have the same views of equality and respect while on duty.

Follow your dreams. Don't let your sexual orientation, fear of judgement or misgivings dictate your career path.

All the best, masalam.
TPC
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Re: Being gay in the flight deck...

Post by Old fella »

Well..... being from the old stock as my graduating H/S year was 1968/69, that's a long time ago pushing over 65 yrs of age. I can honestly say the vast, vast majority of my "agers" that I know are quite accepting and more to the point, gratified that one's sexual orientation is not an issue like it was back then. Why, tis because we-they-I have friends, family members who are gay and are very good people. Yes, there are some old male/female demagogues of that bygone era who are lock wired to that 1968 Mary Hopkin song "Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end.........." I know of such people and are acquainted with them but fast forward to 2016 I will always be of the view " Those were NOT the days" my friends, those 60's days were not great at all, never were. I was around then and still am now.

To the initial poster, all I can say is enjoy your aviation career that is ahead of you be it airline or where ever.
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