Josie Gibson emotional as she recalls being kicked out of 3 restaurants with deaf brother

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Josie Gibson joined Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes in the This Morning studio today to explain why the deaf community have been “forgotten” during the coronavirus pandemic. The presenter became emotional as she recalled a recent encounter where she and her brother Harry were forced to leave three restaurants for not wearing masks despite her brother relying on lip-reading to communicate. 

Josie began: “We are so privileged to still be able to communicate even when we wear a face mask but imagine going into a shop and being totally cut off from everybody in that shop?”

“[People with hearing difficulties] not only use lip reading to communicate but they use this whole bottom part [of their face] as expression.

“They don’t know when people are trying to talk to them or when people are trying to get their attention, they don’t know how people are feeling, they would not know the emotion of that person because they are so cut off from that person. 

“We are told to wear masks and save lives, but we have forgotten about this community where these masks are making their lives a living hell.”

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The ITV presenter went on to recall an upsetting experience she had when she went out to eat with her brother and his family. 

She said: “We went to a restaurant the other day and we kept our distance from the guy that was sitting us down and I was just about to explain that we haven’t got masks on because you’re going to tell me what’s going on and I’m going to tell my brother what’s going on because he lip-reads from me. 

“They said, ‘Well, you’ve not got masks on, you’re going to have to get outside.’”

Josie continued: “I had got the kids with us, it was raining outside… and we thought ‘Don’t worry, we’ll go somewhere else.’

“We went to three places and by the end of it, I was absolutely drained and that was me, imagine what my brother was feeling?”

Josie explained her brother and his wife struggle day-to-day as they can’t communicate with people. 

“Going out and about with their daily lives even when they take their kids to school,” she said.

“They can’t even have a conversation with the other mums, they don’t know what the person is saying at the checkout till, in shops, they have no form of communication and these people, the deaf community have been forgotten about during this pandemic.”

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Josie’s brother and his wife used sign language to explain how they feel while Josie translated. 

She said: “Masks are impacting our life because we can’t communicate with other people. 

“I have to take down my mask and remind people that I am deaf and that I need to lip read. Sometimes they refuse to take their mask down and that’s frustrating for us, and we just have to get on with it but we shouldn’t have to. 

“It’s hard to go out and do things, for example, I have to wear a mask to drop my girls off to school and it feels lonely not to be able to have a chat with other mums because we all have to wear masks. 

“Going to the shop I don’t understand staff because they are wearing masks and I can’t tell if they are talking to me. 

“We rely on signing and lip-reading, and so it’s difficult for us, we are fed up having to explain ourselves why we aren’t wearing masks and having to explain that we are deaf, and having to explain we are lip-reading…”

Josie added: “I’m so proud of my brother and his wife for that because they were so nervous doing that… and I really do think the deaf community have been quite forgotten about during this pandemic, and they’ve just given them a voice so I could not be prouder.”

Josie explained she wanted to make everyone aware of the sunflower sign that can be worn to let others know they are exempt from wearing face coverings.

This Morning airs weekdays on ITV at 10am.

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