Russian Airline Allegedly Makes Gay Flight Attendant Marry Woman
The Russian airline Aeroflot allegedly forced a gay flight attendant to marry a woman in order to keep his job after he created an LGBT organization.
Maxim Kupreev, 25, was forced by his employer Aeroflot Airlines to marry Sofia Mikhailova, a friend from high school, when Kupreev tried to create an LGBT organization to support the company's gay workers. Additionally, Mikhaliova had to leave her authentic marriage to Grigoriy Andreykin so she could tie the knot with Mikhailova.
"Aeroflot effectively broke a real marriage and created a sham one," Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev told the Gay Star News. Aleskeev and other LGBT rights groups are organizing a boycott outside the airline's head office in Moscow next week.
"We have already worked out a number of slogans which underline a double meaning of the word 'marriage' in Russian which we are going to communicate with the public in the context of Aeroflot's activities," Aleskeev said.
Kupreev created the organization in June 2011 in order to offset discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Aeroflot. He also wanted the airline to recognize same-sex partners of its employeesd. A spokeswoman for the company, however, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) thereafter that an LGBT organization at the company did not exist and that "one should separate personal and professional life."
Kupreev told the AFP in June that Aeroflot's management was starting to pressure him. "They are already trying to silence us," he said.
Russia does not offer many rights to its LGBT citizens as neither gay marriage nor civil unions are legal. There are very few anti-discrimination laws in the country and some regions have even implemented laws that prohibit "propaganda of homosexuality," which could ban LGBT protests, parades and educational materials.
The law, which was passed in St. Petersburg, caused several LGBT rights activists to protest and said that the bill would threaten their freedom of speech, EDGE reported.
"So what is the real goal?" asked Polina Savchenko, the general manager of LGBT organization Coming Out Russia. "It is clear that adoption of this law would impose significant limitations on the activities of LGBT organizations. Organizers of public events cannot restrict access of minors to any open area; people under 18 can be there just by chance. Consequently, it makes any public campaigns aimed at reducing xenophobia and hate crime prevention impossible."