Delta Air Lines Agent Shuts Down Passenger Who Says They Were ‘Misgendered’

Transgender actress Tommy Dorfman posted video of a Delta Air Lines employee ‘intentionally misgendering her,’ and having watched the video I’m confused because she seems to think that she’s the one who comes out looking to be in the right in this exchange.

Dorfman identifies as a transgender woman, and is best known for playing Ryan Shaver in the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why.

According the the passenger, who was flying from New York LaGuardia to Atlanta, agent “Tristan” was ‘transphobic’ and ‘threatening’ – following another employee who had misgendered them as well.

when you try to advocate for yourself at @delta and are met woth even more transphobia and threats of being arrested at laguardia. tristan, the employee, said that he was fine with me posting this, didnt realize it was condescending to flag a human rights violation after another employee misgendered me incessantly.

While the actress says the employee’s failure to use their preferred pronouns was intentional, Tristan denies this and is just trying to do his job in the face of passenger hostility.

You’re being condescending, and if you want to continue, I’ll have Port Authority escort you out the building right this moment if you want to play that game with me. Which if you’d like to continue three days before Christmas, I really don’t mind.

In the video we do not see Dorfman, and hear only the masculine-sounding voice of the passenger.

According to Dorfman the Delta agent called the Port Authority, “two police officers actually showed up ~ 10 min later and spoke to me and my partner about the incident.”

Meanwhile, Delta says,

We’re aware of the video and looking into the matter, including reaching out to our customer to understand more about what occurred.

The key point, I think, is that the agent wasn’t focused on the passenger’s pronouns and had no reason to know what they were ex ante. The employee clearly didn’t intend to ‘misgender them’. They were dealing with them with their pronoun of “passenger.” Tommy Dorfman did not raise the issue respectfully, asking to be referred to in another manner. Instead they do come off as disrespectful to the Delta Air Lines agent just trying to do his job.

This Delta employee kept their composure and handled things, clearly, as a New Yorker.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The fact that this interaction was recorded is a pretty god indication that the passenger was trying to stir the pot.

  2. Great job Delta !!!! Looks like I’ll be flying delta everywhere just because I’m so happy to see someone stand up against these clearly mentally ill people who don’t know the difference between male and female. They should watch kindergarten cop for a quick lesson ..

  3. Oh look, the bigots have shown up to comment, throwing around ad hominem attacks like “clearly mentally ill people”. To those folks, I say:

    Mister Rogers would be ashamed of you. Take some time to educate yourself beyond what you were taught in the 1st grade.

  4. Ok, checking in for a flight you must present ID of one type or another, a ticket, driver’s license, passport, etc. What “gender” is on those documents? That’s the way a person should be addressed in this circumstance, regardless what they ask to be called! Bravo to the employee for keeping cool.

  5. I have worked flights in extremely busy and difficult circumstances. It is easy to call someone sir or ma’am in the clearest of circumstances. People run around looking for reasons to be offended so that their click count rises.

    He can be whoever he wants to be in his head and Hollywood can play along with it but out here in the real world we are busy dealing with real problems and issues. There is no time to sort the fantasies of others.

  6. What a load of nonsense. Clearly out to cause problems, why else would you record it? There are 2 genders, always have been. You are born male or female and you simply CANNOT change that.

    Exceptions are abnormalities at birth. This is nothing but a mental illness and no amount of pronouns will change that.

    The airline guy did great job trying to de escalate in the fa e of aggression. It is shameful how society has gone at the hands of the far left and woke community. Truly shocking.

  7. Even though the Bible does forbid transgender behavior and homosexual behavior, there is the concept of an Androgynos and a Tumtum in which cases determining gender is not a simple matter. Nevertheless, you are correct, it is not possible to change your gender.

  8. You can say mentally ill, you can say there are only two genders, you can even thump your Bible and condemn those you do not agree with. In this case, addressing everyone as “passenger” and remaining neutral in all circumstances is required when in customer service anywhere. Stop hiding behind your cross and stop beating others down with it all in the name of heaven.

  9. @Rafa – Try again. There are plenty of rational, non-religious, liberal, and even LGB people who know by the science that there are only two sexes/genders. (Being L or G makes no sense if there are more than two sexes and/or body parts don’t define it.) There are many ways to be a given sex/gender, you can live as the opposite sex/gender, you can even chop off perfectly good body parts to change your external appearance, that doesn’t make you the opposite sex/gender. The idea that lesbians need to be attracted to penises and gays to vaginas is just homophobic – you really want to go there? Because that’s what the current demand is.

    Unless you are willing to engage in my world where my preferred pronoun from you is “Your Superiority” and you are required to grovel at my feet and obey my commands, I am not required to engage in any one else’s delusion out of “politeness”. (I quite like that world and actually have no desire to make do that, but if you want to play that game, you aren’t going to like it.) I don’t need to acknowledge the television is talking to you, nor do I need to help someone get their rocks off by obeying their command to tell them they are a beautiful woman, nor do I have to desire them as a sexual partner just because they say I have to. Nor does anyone else.

  10. Enough of these people trying g to bully others into their fantasy playtime. If you want me to address you as something you’re not, then play along when I tell you, I identify as your OverLord and you will curtsy as you address me as ” Me Lord”. If not, YOU’RE A DAMN BIGOT

  11. What’s on the driver’s license? Would be legally correct. This look like a quick law suit come up here. Civil rights ! Everyone looking for that cheese.

  12. Nobody wants to get caught up in a bunch of gender controversy. We have to stop confusing our youth because some don’t want to accept the birth certificate reality. Stop trying to force people to believe they are misgendering you because of your beliefs.

  13. Remember when men started wearing long hair and dresses, and women started cutting their hair short and wearing “men’s” clothes – as part of the 60s non-conforming movement?
    Then there was makeup, and then there was tattoos, and all sorts of “you can’t tell me what to do with my body.” Sadly, people who _really_ struggle with their gender identity are now being overwhelmed with folks changing their identity on a whim, for attention and clicks.

    Folks who feel the internal struggle should be speaking out against the poseurs that are making their lives worse, not better. This video is certainly about someone who just wants to buck the system and get attention.

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