In July 2014, Meagan Taylor and a friend, both black trans women, were traveling through Iowa on their way to Kansas City. They decided to spend a night at the Drury Inn in West Des Moines, Iowa. But instead of making it to Kansas City the next day, Taylor spent the next eight days in a county jail.
Taylor’s trouble began, she says, the moment she entered the hotel. Taylor says that the staff gave her “disgusted” looks and insisted on copying her identification card. After she and her friend finally checked in and decamped to their room, the Drury Inn staff called local police to report two “men dressed like women,” who were engaging in prostitution.
According to The Guardian, Taylor is now suing the Drury Inn for discrimination. The complaint, filed by the ACLU who is representing Taylor, alleges that the staff violated an Iowa state law that prevents gender discrimination. That law includes discrimination based on gender identity which is defined as “a gender-related identity of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.”
The Guardian reports:
“For Meagan, a stop at a hotel on the way to a funeral landed her in solitary confinement because she is black and transgender,” said Chase Strangio, attorney in the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project, in a statement. “This type of profiling of transgender women of color is all too common and is part of the cycle that results in 41% of black transgender women having been incarcerated at some point in their lives.”
In the complaint, Taylor describes her ordeal as “humiliating, scary and traumatizing”.
After the police were called, they found no evidence of prostitution, but Taylor was arrested for possessing hormone drugs without a copy of a prescription. She spent eight days in jail, many of them in solitary confinement before she was released.
All charges against Taylor were later dropped.
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