Meagan Taylor after being arrested
should never happen.
She’s 22, from Illinois, works in a beauty salon and goes to cosmetology school. She has a mane of long black hair cascading down her back, topped by a layer of bright red, and long, manicured nails. She takes hormones and plans to have gender reassignment surgery. She was visiting Des Moines with a friend who is also transgender, and they were staying at a hotel in West Des Moines where Taylor noticed the staff “acting really funny” around them. Then police showed up at their hotel room.
The West Des Moines Police report said they were notified about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity.”
Meet Meagan Taylor.
She was breaking no laws, paid for her hotel room, and was clearly discriminated against by the Drury Inn because she is a transgender woman. She isn't a sex worker and the police didn't find any evidence of such a thing, but decided to harass her and search her bags nonetheless. They found a harmless diuretic medicine in an unmarked bottle and opted to arrest her for this and the fact that she used a different name other than her legal name to reserve her room.
As of this writing, according to the Des Moines Register, she is still in jail and being housed in isolation in a medical unit where she could remain for months.
Transgender people, and especially those of color, are often profiled and accused of doing illegal sex work when they aren’t, says Harper Jean Tobin, policy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C.
The criminalization of transgender people is despicable. Not only is Taylor suffering this current persecution solely because of who she is, it is adding a completely unnecessary line item to her record and a painful memory to her life. The police should've never been called, they had no probable cause to confront her, and they should've left her alone when it was obvious that the call was erroneous and discriminatory.
Stay tuned for more on this case.