Yes, I am from Moscow, Russia! A very, very cold place to be born in and raised. Since childhood I have always had a love for aviation of any sort. So I made it my purpose to become a pilot and I was successful! Sadly to say I was laid off from KLM, but I still travel as much as I can and I am extremely active in the aviation world.
I will share with you a rather humorous event that occurred when I was flying with KLM. It was late at night and we–the captain and I–were high in the air soaring over the Atlantic watching the moonlight glisten off the ocean. Then in the midst of the peaceful silence, the captain turns to me and says, “Are you married? Do you have a wife and how about children?” I was taken back by that question! How did we go from moon on the ocean to such personal questions?! I sighed and held up my left hand and said no. So the captain proceeded with his questioning, which seemed to me like a scene from a trial during the Spanish Inquisition! It finally came out in conversation that I was gay. The captain had the blankest stare on his face, and I could see him struggle to say something. He then asked, “So you don’t like girls?” I was stunned that such an intelligent man (I hope) would ask such a dumb question? So I said, “No, I like girls as friends but not on a romantic level.” So for the remaining time during the flight I explained to him how one lives a “gay” lifestyle. The captain seemed to be stunned, almost to the point as if he was learning of the existence of Atlantis! At the end of the conversation, we had began our descent into Amsterdam and the sun was beginning to rise through the misty, cloudy weather. The captain ended our little visit on gayness by saying, “You know, you remind me a lot of my son. I think he must be gay.” I chuckled and pointed out to the east and there was a rainbow, full in body and almost had a celestial sparkle to it. I simply said, “He may be gay and if he is, you have my number, so don’t hesitate to give it to him.” We both smiled and began the duties that were required upon descent and landing.
Needless to say, I saw this same captain a month later in Hong Kong and he approached me and confirmed that his son was gay. He patted my back and said that he has the utmost respect for the lifestyle I live and for the life his son chose. I am thankful for little moments like these, because it confirms that there are people out there who do understand and who have a genuine care for us (we gays). Hope this little story brought a little inspiration to you all, and be proud for who are. Success only begins when one is confident and proud of their choices!