Family “Left Stranded” At Airport After Being Denied Boarding On United Airlines Flight For Misgendering An Attendant

Natasha Biase

A family was reportedly denied boarding by United Airlines after one member failed to use a flight attendant’s preferred pronouns. In a video shared to X, Jenna Longoria explains that she, her 16-month-old son, and her mother were abandoned at an airport in San Francisco without any formal explanation from the airline.

“Okay, so we were boarding. Myself, my 16-month-old son, my mother,” begins the video. “They took our luggage on the plane, which has my thyroid medication, which I’ll be very sick without. My mother’s medication. They basically said: ‘Tough luck.’”

Noting that her young son was becoming distressed while she was speaking with a flight attendant, she adds that the airline didn’t specify exactly what she said that was offensive other than referring to one of the staff members with the wrong pronouns.

“I was speaking to one of the flight attendants and got their pronouns wrong. The other flight attendant didn’t like it. I said I am really sorry, ‘they,’ I’m not very versed with pronouns,” she continues, adding that she had been preoccupied with trying to get her son’s car seat on the flight because it was his nap time.

“They’re saying that it’s a hate crime that I did, that I might not even be able to ever fly United. We don’t even know how we’re going to get back today. I don’t know what to do. I really don’t know what to do. I don’t know what my rights are here,” concludes Longoria, a nutritionist who goes by the moniker The Period Guru on social media.

Although United Airlines responded to Longoria’s video, asking her to send them a direct message with her flight’s reservation number, many, including clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson stepped in to put added pressure on the airline.

“I bloody well imagine you’d like to take ‘closer look,” replied Peterson, tagging the airline and linking to Longoria’s video.

The Publica has reached out to Longoria, but did not hear back in time for publication.

This is not the first time an airline has come under a pronoun-related controversy, but the last time an incident made headlines it was for very different reasons. In December of 2023, Delta Airlines reportedly launched an internal investigation after a TikTok video went viral showing trans-identified male actor Tommy Dorfman accusing an airline employee of intentionally misgendering him. 

In the video, initially shared on his TikTok but since deleted, Dorfman confronted an employee at LaGuardia Airport in New York City for referring to him with male pronouns. While the recording appears to have started after the interaction had already begun, Dorfman can be seen at a gate waiting for a flight to Atlanta. Behind the desk, two Delta employees seem exacerbated while interacting with him.

“And what about when a Delta employee misgenders you intentionally?” asked the 13 Reasons Why actor.

“It wasn’t intentional,” the gate agent calmly replied.

Dorfman later deleted the video due to widespread backlash, with the Delta employees experiencing an outpouring of support from those concerned that they would be penalized for accurately sexing the actor.

Shortly after the Delta incident went viral, Dorfman, who came out as transgender in 2021, addressed the incident on Instagram, calling for people to be respectful to others and educate themselves about using the correct pronouns.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, including transgender people,” wrote the 31-year-old actor. “When we are mistreated, i.e. being misgendered repeatedly, trans people should be able to defend ourselves and advocate for our innate human dignity.”

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