We’re working on the next season of AirSpace as we speak, but today, we’re excited to bring you QueerSpace — a limited series from the creators of AirSpace, featuring stories and people at the intersection of aviation, space, and LGBTQ+ history and culture. For the next two months, we’re highlighting the scope and diversity of queer experiences found across human flight and space science.
The first episode spotlights the history and community built by male flight attendants. You may think that the role of flight attendant has always been a women-dominated profession. But that wasn’t always the case. Very early on in commercial aviation, many flight attendants (or stewards as they were then known) were men. But in the mid-20th century, that changed as airlines began exclusively hiring women for the role. When, in the 1970s, a court case forced airlines to hire men and women on equal terms and more men became flight attendants, gay men created a community within the industry that was uniquely supportive and welcoming. The next few decades would test that community, first with changes to how airlines were allowed to operate, and then by the AIDS crisis.
In this episode, we talk to Plane Queer author Phil Tiemeyer and former flight attendant David Hinson to explore that community.
QueerSpace is made possible by the generous support of Olay.
QueerSpace is part of the museum’s AirSpace brand, which explores aviation and space through arts, entertainment and culture with content and experiential events that reach beyond the galleries and exhibits.