Queer deaf couple ‘refused entry to Delta flight’

Deaf queer couple Socorro Garcia and Melissa Elmira Yingst in Facebook video

Deaf queer couple Socorro Garcia and Melissa Elmira Yingst say they were stopped from boarding a Delta flight by a staff member who refused to communicate with them.

The Delta agent called the police to Detroit Metropolitan Airport to remove the couple on January 27 before they could board their plane from Detroit to California, according to Detroit newspaper The News-Herald.

But the women have claimed they were discriminated against by the agent, who allegedly dismissed their attempts to communicate through written messages, even throwing one note in the bin.

Deaf queer couple explain what happened with Delta agent:

Delta agent’s argument with queer deaf couple goes viral

In a video posted on Facebook on the night of the incident, Garcia signed that they asked the agent, Felicia, if they could sit together on the plane.

“We communicated our request through iPhone and she kept talking to us without writing anything down,” she recalled in the video, which has been viewed more than 230,000 times on Facebook.

After asking again why they weren’t seated next to each other, Garcia said “the gate agent rolled her eyes at us. Melissa asked for her to write.”

“(Imagine if) you saw your only mode of communication being crumpled up and thrown in the trash can.”

— Socorro Garcia

“After a few moments, she finally wrote on a piece of paper and said the flight was full and she couldn’t book us together.

“I wanted to continue to communicate and decided to try and write on that same paper but instead of giving us the paper we asked for, she crumpled it in front of us and threw it in the trash.”

On Twitter, Garcia asked her followers to imagine if “you saw your only mode of communication being crumpled up and thrown in the trash can.”

A Delta Airlines plane like the one the queer deaf couple was booked on lands at Los Angeles International Airport on July 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California

The queer deaf couple were unable to fly back to California on Sunday. (Mario Tama/Getty)

Garcia signed on Facebook that after seeing her note being tossed away, she “walked to the trash to pick it up but she pushed me away.”

“Melissa was stunned and took out her iPhone to take a video of her and then Felicia turned on her iPhone to film us. She still refused and called the police on us.

“The police arrived and said that I assaulted her and I was asked to leave.”

Incident with Delta left queer deaf couple shaken

Yingst called the incident “very traumatic,” adding that “even though I have seen this many times, it was a huge shock when it happened to us tonight.”

“I know no one is immune to communication barriers and this kind of situation, so I felt the need to share our experience,” she said.

Garcia wrote that she was “lost for words. What did we do wrong?”

Watch Delta staff communicate with Socorro Garcia and Melissa Elmira Yingst:

PinkNews has contacted Delta for comment.

In a statement to The News-Herald earlier this week, Delta said it was “in contact with two customers who reported having difficulty communicating with a gate agent prior to their flight.

“We are reviewing the situation with our Detroit team and will work with these customers to better understand what transpired.

“We take situations like these very seriously and as part of our culture of continuous improvement, we are using this as an opportunity to learn.”