Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the News: Christian Post

Who Are America's Transgender Clergy?

By Matthew Maule , CP Op-Ed Contributor
July 28, 2015|8:18 am
  • gay pride parade
    (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi)
    A participant holds a rainbow colored placard during Delhi queer pride parade, an event promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, in New Delhi, India, November 30, 2014. Hundreds of participants on Sunday took part in a parade demanding freedom and safety of their community, according to a media release.

Transgender clergy now serve openly in several mainline and progressive Christian denominations. Churches that espouse traditional Christian theology have not allowed transgender persons to be clergy as they do not accept transgender identity as a Biblical expression of personhood. Several of the transgender clergy below caused disorder in their churches and denominations when they insisted on recognition. Several of them have left diminished or destroyed churches in their paths. Below are brief biographies of the openly transgender clergy serving in the United States today.

The Episcopal Church (approved transgender ordination at its 2012 General Convention)
The Reverend Carolyn Woodall is a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, California. Formerly the Deputy Public Defender in Sonora, Woodall now has a small criminal defense practice in addition to serving as deacon for St. James Episcopal Church. Woodall serves as the Chair of the Stakeholders' Council of Integrity USA, "the leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church."

The Reverend Vicki Gray is a deacon at Christ the Lord Episcopal Church in Pinole, California in the Episcopal Diocese of California. A Vietnam War combat veteran and retired Foreign Service Officer, Gray also serves on the Executive Council and Commission on Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of California. Gray assists with Open Cathedral, an open-air weekly worship service takes place in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco that ministers to the poor and homeless.

The Reverend Dr. Cameron Partridge is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts where he functions as the Episcopal Chaplain at Boston University and a lecturer and counselor at Harvard Divinity School. Partridge was the first transgender priest to preach at the Episcopal Church's National Cathedral in Washington D.C. where he spoke during "Pride Month" 2014.

The Reverend Carla Robinson is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia. Robinson is the Director of Children and Youth Ministries at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Seattle. Before transitioning, Robinson was an ordained minister in the conservative Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Previously, Robinson was the priest of All Saints Episcopal Church in Seattle, this church has seemingly ceased to exist as they no longer have a website and are no longer listed in the diocesan directory. Robinson then became a non-stipended priest at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle before moving on to the Church of the Ascension.

The Reverend Gwen Fry is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. In 2014 Fry shocked his parish, Grace Episcopal Church, by identifying as a transgender person and was removed from his position by the Bishop of Arkansas, Larry Benfield. Fry is a Diocesan Coordinator for the aforementioned Integrity USA and is a member of TransEpiscopal, representing the group at the 2015 Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City. Fry was a panelist at a Wild Goose Festival 2015 session entitled "LGBTQ Lives: Hurt & Healing."

The Reverend Christopher Fike is the Priest in Charge at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church, Wilmington in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts . Before transitioning, Fike was the Episcopal Chaplain at Tufts University, the Priest in Charge at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston, and the Interim Episcopal Chaplain at Boston University. The film To Cold Out There Without You details Fike's experience.

The United Methodist Church (the denomination's Book of Discipline does not address the issue of transgender clergy)
The Reverend Drew Phoenix, formerly pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church – a "primarily LGBT congregation" in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference, now serves as the Executive Directorof Indentity, whose mission is to advance Alaska's LGBT community through advocacy, education and connectivity. Phoenix' transition, while an ordained and active pastor, caused controversy at the 2007 Baltimore-Washington annual conference and at the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The Reverend David Weekley is the pastor of St. Nicholas United Methodist Church in Hull, Massachusetts. Weekley transitioned from female to male in 1975, seven years before becoming an ordained UMC minister; he did not reveal this transition until 2009 while pastor at historic Epworth United Methodist Church in Portland. While that church, begun as a mission in 1890, had 220 members in 2011, it has now shrunk to 30 members according to the UMC website. One hopes that St. Nicholas will not suffer the same fate.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) implicitly recognized transgender persons in 2009 in their social statement on human sexuality.
The Reverend Asher O'Callaghan became the first regularly ordained transgender minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America on July 2, 2015. O'Callaghan was called to serve at Zion Lutheran Church in Idaho Springs, Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Synod. He was ordained at the House for All Sinners and Saints and ELCA church where celebrity pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber ministers.

The Reverend Megan Rohrer is pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in the San Francisco Conference of the ELCA. Rohrer is also the Executive Director of Welcome, "a communal response to poverty." Rohrer also [served] as Associate Pastor at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church and is overseen by both Lutheran and Episcopal bishops. Rohrer's passions include creating services from popular music including a "Beatles Mass," a "Bob Dylan Folk Mass," and a "Lady Gaga Mass." Because the ELCA did not ordain transgender persons before 2009, Rohrer was ordained by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, an ordination mill for LGBTQ persons denied ordination by the ECLA. Their ordinations have now been recognized by the ELCA.

The Reverend Jay Wilson was also ordained by Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries at First United Lutheran Church in San Francisco, an ELCA congregation. He was ordained to the aforementioned Welcome ministry and also led First United's Children's Ministry. According to his Linkedin profile he was only at the church for a year and a half before becoming a Data Management Specialist at MinnesotaHelp.Info and then an Access Consultant at the University of Minnesota's Disability Resource Center.

Nicole Garcia is an ordination candidate in the ELCA's Rocky Mountain Synod, and serves as a seminarian at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder Colorado. Garcia is now vice chair of the board of directors of ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation. Huffington Post reports "Garcia still wonders if a congregation will accept her as a minister just as she is. 'How can I feel comfortable as a Latina with dark skin in a denomination where inevitably at least 90 percent of the congregants in any ELCA church will be white?'"

The United Church of Christ (UCC)
The Reverend Lawrence T. Richardson is the founding pastor of Shift UCC an "out of the box ministry for out of the box people" in St. Paul, Minnesota. Richardson is also the founder and CEO of Stand-To-Urinate, a transgender supplies company (no website could be found). Additionally, Richardson is a social media strategist for The Center for Progressive Renewal, a writer for The Salt Collective, and a "digital evangelist" for Extravagance United Church of Christ, "an online faith community."
The Reverend Malcolm Himschoot serves as the Minister for Ministerial Transitions at the UCC headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. His previous stints include three months as Interim Pastor at Community UCC in Boulder, CO, fives months as adjunct professor at The Iliff School of Theology, fourteen months as pastor of Parker UCC in Parker, CO, four months as Interim Sabbatical Minister at Arvada UCC in Arvada, CO. Himschoot has also worked on the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, serving as Interim Open and Affirming Program Coordinator and as the Open and Affirming director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC.

The Reverend Rebecca Steen is the pastor of First Congregational Chu
ch UCC in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Steen had been a longtime minister in the United Methodist Church's Baltimore-Washington Conference prior to transitioning in 2000. Because the UMC had no policy on transgender clergy, Steen was reappointed after a medical leave of absence, causing significant controversy in the conference. Charges were filed against Steen by members of the conference, and Steen resigned ministerial credentials in the UMC. Steen then transitioned into the more accepting United Church of Christ.

The Reverend Pat Conover is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Conover served with the Justice and Witness Ministries of the UCC. Conover also worked as Information Officer of Church and Society and as Policy Advocate for the Poverty Affairs Office. Conover is a member of Religious Committee International Foundation for Gender Education, the oldest international committee addressing concerns of transgender education.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Reverend Dr. Erin K. Swenson, is a parish associate at Ormewood Park Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and pastoral psychotherapist at Morningside Presbyterian Church. Swenson serves the board of More Light Presbyterians an organization devoted to the full participation of LGBT people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Transitioning in 1996, Swenson was "first known mainstream Protestant minister to make an open gender transition while remaining in ordained office."
The Reverend Dr. Julie Nemecek is an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MI chairing the Discipleship Ministry Team. Nemecek was ordained a Baptist minster and served in several churches before transitioning. After transitioning, Nemecek was terminated from Spring Arbor University, a Free Methodist affiliated school, and filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They eventually agreed on a settlement. Nemecek has served on the national boards of Soulforce and PFLAG and currently serves on the advisory board of Trans Youth Family Allies (TYFA) and is an honorary board member of Inclusive Justice Michigan.

The American Baptist Convention
The Reverend Allyson Robinson served as transitions pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., an American Baptist Convention church. After a career as an Army officer (and a graduate of West Point), Robinson pursued the ministry and was ordained while still identifying as a man. Robinson served at Azorean Baptist Church in Portugal and as pastor of Meadow Oaks Baptist Church in Temple, Texas. After transitioning, Robinson resigned the pastorate of Meadow Oaks and began working as a LGBT activist for the Human Rights Campaign. In 2012 Robinson served as Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN whose mission is to "to empower, support, and defend our military's LGBT community while working to build a culture of inclusion in the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs." Robinson now works at Warrior Poet Strategies, whose mission is to "to help leaders and the organizations they lead discover, refine, communicate, and live into their values."

The Metropolitan Community Church
The Reverend Sky Anderson served as pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Jose; this church has now closed its doors. Anderson was ordained by the MCC at its General Conference in 1979 after having openly transitioned.
The Reverend Aaron L. Miller serves as the pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Hartford, CT. Miller had previously served as the Associate Minister for Pastoral Care at Metropolitan Community Church in New Haven, CT. Miller serves on the MCC Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council "Trans/Gender Nonconforming People." Miller is alsochaplain at Yale New Haven Hospital, serves on the Board of Directors for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice CT, is a member of the Connecticut Clergy for Full Equality (an interfaith collaboration of progressive faith leaders throughout the state).

The Reverend Justin Tanis is the Managing Director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion. Tanis has served as the interim pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Boston, pastor of Ke Anuenue O Ke Aloha (Rainbow of Love) MCC in Honolulu, and associate pastor of MCC San Francisco. Tanis then served as Director of Leadership Development for Metropolitan Community Churches. Tanis has a long history of LGBT activism including working with ACT-UP and Queer Nation, serving as spokesperson and media coordinator for the Hawai'i Equal Rights Marriage Project, serving as the Community Education and Outreach Manager at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), and serving the Director of Communication for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

In the News: One Iowa

Meagan Taylor

This was not the vacation Meagan Taylor, an African American trans woman, bargained for when she and a friend came to Des Moines in mid-July.

An employee at the West Des Moines Drury Inn, the hotel where they were staying, called local police to report that they suspected that “two males dressed as females” were engaged in prostitution. When police arrived, they found no such activity. However, they did find an unmarked prescription bottle and discovered that Taylor had an outstanding warrant from Illinois for unpaid fines. Taylor was arrested and brought to the Polk County Jail where she was placed in a high tier of protective custody at her request.

I was called to the jail to meet with Sheriff Bill McCarthy and other jail officials. The Sheriff and his staff were genuinely concerned about Ms. Taylor and how to appropriately and respectfully deal with a prisoner who was transgender and who would be spending some time at the facility. There were lots of questions and lots of conversation. As social media misspoke of isolation cells and mistreatment, Taylor was actually housed in a medical holding unit with a window. The cell had a hospital bed, not a cot. She had the opportunity to exercise and take showers. Her privileges included telephone access, video visitation, her own television, commissary, and immediate access to medical personnel.

When I met with Taylor, she said that she had been treated well. In fact, when I visited her cell, she was on a video conference call with the Pastor Megan Rohrer, a Lutheran minister who is executive director of WELCOME, a communal response to poverty in San Francisco, CA. Rohrer, the first openly trans pastor ordained in the Lutheran church, raised the funds to pay Taylor’s bonds and fees in both Iowa and Illinois.
On July 23, Taylor was released from the Polk County Jail and returned to her home in Lahokia, Illinois.
We have a great deal to learn from Taylor’s experience here in Iowa. At great fault is, of course, the Drury Inn in West Des Moines. They saw a woman of color, a trans woman with brown skin, and their first assumption was that something was wrong, namely ‘prostitution’. If you are outraged by their behavior, you may want to let them know. You should let them know. One Iowa will offer an LGBTQ Cultural Competency training to the hotel. It is something they need.

The West Des Moines police did find that Taylor had an outstanding warrant and for that she was arrested. The drug charge and the other charges were absurd.

The Polk County Jail, in our opinion and according to Taylor, treated her with respect. They kept her safe. They reached out to the media to tell her story. They reached out to me at One Iowa, the state’s leading LGBT organization, because they wanted to do the right thing.

A lot of people came together to support Meagan Taylor: local trans activists, LGBTQ folks, clergy, law enforcement, bloggers, journalists and donors. Taylor went home because of the compassion of these people and their willingness to do something. Taylor went home because a smart and caring Lutheran pastor in San Francisco rustled up the funds to free her. Taylor went home. That is what matters.

— Donna Red Wing

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In the News: The Advocate

Meagan Taylor
Meagan Taylor

Freed From Iowa Jail, Black Trans Woman Meagan Taylor Speaks

The black trans woman tells The Advocate about facing transphobia daily, her battle ahead, and the unusual part a county jail played in working toward justice.



Meagan Taylor, the 22-year-old black trans woman arrested and jailed last Monday after allegedly being profiled as a sex worker by Drury Inn staff as well as local police in West Des Moines, Iowa, paid her bail and fees Tuesday, and was released from Polk County Jail in Des Moines Wednesday.

What's more, the $20,000 warrant that had been issued in her name — which sought to ensure that she appeared at an upcoming Illinois court date to address a fine she missed paying for a five-year-old credit card fraud conviction — has been vacated, reports the Transgender Law Center. That Oakland, Calif.–based organization will represent Taylor moving forward, as she considers litigation stemming from her nearly two-week incarceration on unfounded charges of prostitution in Iowa.

As of Wednesday morning, Taylor was set to be extradited from Iowa to Illinois to address that 2010 conviction, for which Taylor served her full sentence at the age of 17. The charge, separate from the allegations that led to her arrest in Iowa, originally carried a $500 fee, which had since grown to $1,713 in the intervening years. When Iowa police ran Taylor's information in Des Moines, they became aware of the outstanding warrant in Illinois.

Des Moines activists Mira Bellweather, Tony Tyler, and Kaija Carter expressed concern to The Advocate that if Taylor had been extradited, she could have been held with male prisoners on the transit vehicle and in jails along the way, opening her up to possible physical and sexual assault. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio adds that that St. Clair County Jail in Illinois — where Taylor could have been detained over the weekend while awaiting her scheduled August 10 court appearance — has a history of institutional violence towards trans women.

In Des Moines, Taylor was held on a $2,276 bail, which she was able to pay — in addition to the $1,713 fee from the former charge — Tuesday with funds raised online by San Francisco-based trans pastor Megan Rohrer. The receipt confirming payment of the fee connected to the 2010 fraud charge was faxed Tuesday to Taylor's probation officer in Illinois by the Transgender Law Center, Taylor tells The Advocate.

Now that those outstanding fees have been paid, all legal matters relating to Taylor's Illinois probation violation have been settled. She is due to appear in court back in Iowa August 26, when a judge will consider charges related to Taylor carrying her transition-related medication without a prescription, and "malicious prosecution" — a "serious misdemeanor" defined as "a person who causes or attempts to cause another to be indicted or prosectued for any public offense."

Taylor will get legal counsel through the Transgender Law Center, which indicated to The Advocate that it is still investigating whether it's possible to get the Iowa charges dropped, as Taylor maintains she has a prescription for the medication — she just wasn't traveling with it. It is unclear whether the "malicious prosecution" charge is related to the outstanding Illinois warrant, which police informed Taylor of during her arrest.

Taylor was released at 11:44 a.m. Central time Wednesday, Rohrer tells The Advocate. The pastor's fundraiser, hosted on the San Francisco-based Welcome Ministry's website, had raised more than $5,500 at press time. An expenditure breakdown included on that site indicates that $2,276 was used to pay Taylor's bond at the Polk County Jail — $2,100 of which will be returned after she appears in court or the charges are dropped — while $1,825 was wired to Taylor's family members who paid her fees in Illinois. The remainder of the funds raised will be used to fund safe housing and transit back to Illinois, if Taylor desires it, and to help her obtain updated identification, including a legal name change and state-issued ID with her preferred name and gender listed.

Now that Taylor is out of jail, one of her top priorities is updating her legal identification to avoid such situations again, even though they should not occur in the first place, she tells The Advocate.

Taylor tells The Advocate that she felt her July 13 arrest was unequivocally unjust. "I was accused of prostituting ... [when] I was just doing my normal [thing]," she recalls. "I wasn't even doing anything criminal. I was just sitting in my hotel room that I paid for, just like everyone else." Taylor says she was visiting Des Moines from Illinois, accompanied by another trans woman, when she was allegedly profiled by hotel staff, who called police to investigate "possible prostitution activity." Taylor had signed in with a name other than her own, which in itself is not a crime.

"It seemed like they were trying to find something to charge me with," she explained to the Register. "I lied about my name [but] I was not doing any illegal activity. The lady called police because I was transgender and was with a transgender friend."

When it was discovered that Taylor was not engaged in sex work, police arrested her for carrying spironolactone hydrochloride, a transition-related medication, without a prescription, and for "malicious prosecution."

Despite her harrowing ordeal, Taylor was hopeful and smiling when she spoke with The Advocate over the phone Tuesday from Polk County Jail. Before sharing an update on what she calls the "complicated" court processes, she took the time to express her gratitude to the Polk County Jail staff, who she says were integral to getting her story out to media.

The huge response from activists (including founding members of the #BlackLivesMatter movement) and social media helped fuel the surge of donations that ultimately paid for Taylor's bail, fees, and other necessities within days of her story breaking. It's an expense the salon employee and cosmetology student says she could not otherwise afford, and without which she could have remained stuck in the legal and carceral system for much longer.

While Taylor confirms that she was placed in segregated housing without a cellmate because the jail "definitely" didn't know where to house her as a trans woman, she says she appreciates that staff "accomodated me as much as possible" by allowing as many "resources" as she needed, including a telephone, TV, and hospital bed in a private medical room.

Taylor had initially told the Register that she did not like being isolated, and felt she should be jailed with the other women.

Speaking with The Advocate Tuesday, Taylor said she felt unable to openly discuss her treatment in Polk County, because she was sitting in a "public" jail area with a guard nearby. But she did clarify to the Register that she had opted for "protective custody," to keep her out of the general population. That "general population" likely included cells shared with men, where she would have faced a heightened risk of sexual and physical assault. Sheriff Bill McCarthy was apparently well-aware of that danger when deciding where to house her, according to his comments to local media.

Taylor did emphasize to The Advocate that when she first arrived at the jail July 13, several correctional officers were especially concerned about what they considered the injustice of her arrest, and they had researched how to help her. This, in part, led to McCarthy contacting the Register in hopes that its reporters would spread the word through news coverage. That outreach resulted in an editorial by Register columnist Rekha Basu, who offers commentary on "current events, community and culture with a focus on human rights and social justice," according to her bio at the paper's website.

The Advocate subsequently picked up Taylor's story, followed by several other national news sites, helping the story to gain widespread attention, even trending as a popular Facebook news topic Monday.

As word of Taylor's incarceration began spreading over social media this past weekend, local activists sprang into action, contacting Taylor in jail to make sure she was safe, and putting pressure on the Drury Inn to apologize and give staff sensitivity training for how to treat trans and gender-nonconforming guests.

Tyler and Carter organized a Monday protest outside the West Des Moines motel and delivered a letter of demands, including that location manager Kim Gettler attend a "restorative justice" roundtable to learn how to better interact with LGBT people and people of color.

Drury Inn officials have not responded to the letter or publicly commented on Taylor's case.

For her part, Taylor says she's most concerned that trans women of color across the country daily face discrimination like that she says she experienced from the Drury Inn staff and West Des Moines police officers. She explains to The Advocate that the activist response to her case has felt "very empowering," and that she hopes to speak out about racism and transphobia on radio and television news programs to raise even more awareness.

Taylor adds that it's clear her recent ordeal could have been avoided had hotel staff and police not assumed she was engaged in criminal activity simply because she was a trans woman of color. "For a second, I didn't even think this stuff was still going on, and I thought that we [as a society] was changing," she reflects. "To witness that [we haven't] was a really big eye-opener."

Though she says her everyday life is mostly "peaceful" now, Taylor does recall that when she first began her transition to living openly as a woman she faced prejudice regularly. And whenever she does face the occasional issue for being trans now, she says "it always comes from people that I have shown my ID to, who are supposed to be professional." She explains:
"You would think I would have more problems from people on the street, random boys or random people, and I don’t even have it from them. It’s coming from people who are supposed to be professional; it’s their job. Their workplace is supposed to be helpful to people, and they’re not. … A hotel is generally supposed to be the utmost, 1,000 percent hospitality. They’re supposed to make you feel at home. They’re supposed to do it at all costs. There’s no other job like [that]."
And, Taylor stresses, she's not the only one whose story needs airtime. She tells The Advocate she's witnessed the same treatment repeatedly towards other trans women of color around her, several of whom she proudly mentors. She recalls a particularly striking alleged incident at a Sheraton Hotel in Kansas City, Mo., in which a trans friend who was celebrating the Fourth of July with Taylor and a group of other trans women informed her, "The lady at the front desk kept calling us 'sir.'"

"I confronted [the receptionist] about it," Taylor says. "I said, 'Why would you call my girlfriends 'sir'? They don't look like 'sirs' at all." Taylor says the woman referred to her friend's ID, which was marked with a "male" birth name (which was actually a unisex name, Taylor notes) to justify the misgendering.
She warns other trans people to stay safe by being prepared to face transphobia when they travel, and be aware that despite recent gains in LGBT equality and visibility, prejudice persists.

And Taylor concludes with one last message she asks The Advocate to announce: a "big, public 'thank you'" to everyone who has supported her, from activists to Polk County Jail staff to the hundreds online who have donated and shared her story.

Images courtesy of Meagan Taylor.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In the News: Bay Area Reporter

Transmissions: This is not justice


Meagan Taylor

Meagan Taylor is a 22-year-old hairstylist from Illinois. She is also a transwoman of color. Taylor was on a trip to Des Moines, Iowa with another transgender friend of hers.
While in the city, the duo got a room at the Drury Inn in Des Moines. Taylor noticed the staff "acting really funny." A short time after they checked in on July 13, West Des Moines Police were at their door.
The hotel staff had called the police, saying that "two males dressed as females" had checked in, and they had concerns there was "possible prostitution activity" going on.
The police found no evidence of sex work, which is what one might suspect when someone is not actually involved in same. This did not stop the police from finding other things to charge Taylor with.
They found she had a probation violation stemming from a credit card fraud case she was involved with as a teenager. While she served time for that charge, she had not yet completed paying off related fines. She also had spironolactone – a testosterone blocker common in transgender hormone regimens – but did not posses a current prescription for it. She had also used a pseudonym when checking into the hotel that, I should note, is not a crime.
She was charged for the possession of the spironolactone and the probation violation, as well as a charge for "malicious prosecution." That's a misdemeanor that is reserved for "a person who causes or attempts to cause another to be indicted or prosecuted for any public offense." It's really not very clear exactly what Taylor did to be charged with that.
While in police custody, she received two pat-downs: a female officer managed her upper body, while a male checked over her lower body. The police are now housing her at the Polk County Jail in an isolation cell. The jail has no policy on detaining transgender inmates.
So we have a black transwoman held in isolation, essentially for the crime of being a black transwoman.
The staff of the Drury Inn clearly only assumed there may have been prostitution involved based on Taylor's transgender status. I can't help but feel that her race was part of their assumptions.
The West Des Moines Police added to this, clearly fishing for something with which to charge Taylor. It's not to say that she did not have a parole violation and some drugs that may not have been prescribed to her, but I don't think anyone can look at the charges and her treatment and feel that justice is truly being served. To me, this is a nightmare scenario.

As of this writing, she is still in custody, in isolation. She did not have the money on her to post bail in excess of $2,000. A fundraiser is underway, in order to get her out of isolation in advance of her August 25 court date. People can donate through Welcome, A Communal Response to Poverty, by visiting
Taylor was released on bond this week, after funds from Welcome were used to pay her bail, said pastor Megan Rohrer, a member of the coalition. Additional funds raised will be used to pay Taylor's fees from the earlier case.

[Update: After the print issue of the Bay Area Reporter went to press, Rohrer reported that Taylor was released Wednesday afternoon after Illinois dropped its warrant.]

In recent months, the media has been intensely focused on Caitlyn Jenner's coming out.

It's a big and compelling story, and I don't fault anyone for having at least some interest. Jenner is a national hero after her victory in the 1976 Olympics, and her family has been under intense media scrutiny for years thanks to their reality television show. Thus far, Jenner has done a remarkable job of managing the public side of her transition.

Jenner's transition is also taking place at a time when transgender issues are gaining an incredible level of visibility. Many other transfolks have become celebrities, and many others are successfully making a name for themselves. It is almost like a renaissance for transgender people: we've gone past the tipping point and into new territory of acceptance.

Yet even with all the success, all the media hype, all the visibility, there are still cases like Taylor's, and others.
I cannot help but think of the case of Ky Peterson, a 23-year-old black transman who is currently serving a 20-year sentence for killing his rapist. Peterson discovered a bag of roughly 100 pills – an anti-seizure medication known as Tegretol – placed with his belongings. Peterson attempted suicide using the Tegretol.
By the same token, I can't help but think of the recent death of Sandra Bland. Bland was a cisgender black woman from Chicago, starting a new job in Texas. Police there pulled her over for a broken turn signal. She was then arrested for assault on a public servant and jailed. She was later found dead in her cell, with local police claiming her death a suicide. All for not using a turn signal.

As we enjoy what is an incredible time of visibility and growth for the transgender community – and LGBT rights in general – we need to be mindful of the experiences of people like Taylor.

When you can have the police called on you for little more than being a black transgender woman – because the hotel fears you might be prostituting yourself on their premises – that's a problem. When the police act on those fears by jailing you on charges that don't seem to fit the reality of the situation, and hold you in isolation for days on end based purely on the nature of your body – that's a travesty.

Transgender people have faced issues with bring harassed by police, assumed to be sex workers by police eager for an arrest. People of color, particularly blacks, are also familiar with being targeted by police and others.

This needs to change. We can celebrate our victories, but while people like Taylor are in prison, we can never truly be free and equal.

In the News: Gay Star News

Woman arrested in Iowa after she is reported simply for being trans

'Transgender people are being gender and racially profiled and it has to stop'

Woman arrested in Iowa after she is reported simply for being trans
22 July 2015
A St Louis woman is being held in isolation at an Iowa jail after the hotel where she was staying called the police simply because she is transgender.

According to the police report, Meagan Taylor was arrested on 13 July after authorities were notified of ‘two males dressed as females who checked in to the Drury Inn’ and ‘staff was worried about possible prostitution activity.’

The 22-year-old cosmetology student was woken up at 9am and brought in because she did not have the prescription for her hormone pills with her.

Taylor gave a fake name with a Missouri ID, which led to another charge of ‘malicious prosecution,’ an aggravated misdemeanor.

‘What happened to me, was definitely based on my gender. Transgender people are being gender and racially profiled and it has to stop,’ she said.

A background check that came back with an outstanding probation violation from Illinois for a 2010 credit card fraud conviction, for which Taylor did time when she was 17 but still owes $500 in fines.

Taylor requested ‘protective custody’ and is now being held in the medical unit of Polk County Jail.
Her bond was set at $2,000 but she did not know anyone local who could co-sign for her release.

Megan Rohrer, of San Francisco’s Welcome Ministry, started a crowdfunding campaign, which has raised $5,174 to pay for Taylor’s fines in Iowa and Illinois, and so she change her name legally and get a new ID with her preferred name and gender.

However, Taylor still may be detained until her trial on 10 August.

This is not the first time a transgender woman has been arrested for ‘walking while trans.’
Black transgender activist Monica Jones was was arrested in Arizona for ‘manifesting prostitution’ in May 2013.

In the News: The Advocate

Black Trans Woman Meagan Taylor Released from Iowa Jail

After spending two weeks in a segregated medical cell in Iowa, the Illinois trans woman was released from Polk County Jail today.



Meagan Taylor
Meagan Taylor
Meagan Taylor, the 22-year-old black trans woman who spent the past two weeks in a segregated cell at Polk County Jail in Des Moines, walked out of that facility today, according to advocates who have been calling for her release. 

"I'm ecstatic to be released," Taylor told the Transgender Law Center, which is currently investigating the possibility of litigation surrounding allegations that hotel workers and police profiled the black trans woman as a sex worker. "Words cannot express the way I feel to be out. I want to thank everyone who shared my story, and let people know that I am going to seek justice for what they did profiling me as a Black transgender woman."

Indeed, LGBT and social justice advocates have rallied around the young woman's plight, seizing on her allegations that hotel staff and police inaccurately profiled Taylor and her friend as sex workers. While being held at Polk County Jail, Taylor was kept alone in a medical cell, segregated from the general population, because jail officials were unsure about where to house a transgender woman. 

As the hashtag #FreeMeaganTaylor began trending on social media platforms Monday, organizers launched a fundraising campaign to pay Taylor's bail and surrounding fees that had been escalating after she failed to pay a fine on a five-year-old credit card fraud conviction. 

The transgender pastor who helped lead that fundraising effort — which subsequently raised more than $4,400, expressed their gratitude in a statement upon the news of Taylor's release. 

"My tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy when I learned that Meagan was going to be released from jail," said Pastor Megan Rohrer, who uses the gender-neutral pronouns they and them. "I want to thank the 133 people who donated funds to help us remove the financial barriers, and the Transgender Law Center who expedited the legal barriers that were keeping Meagan in jail."

Taylor, an Illinois resident, was arrested July 13 shortly after checking in to the Drury Inn in West Des Moines, Iowa, with a friend who also happens to be a transgender woman. 

Taylor says her ordeal began when hotel staff began "acting really funny" around her and her friend. Soon after the pair checked in, West Des Moines Police were knocking on their hotel room door, responding to a staff call about "two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn" who staff worried were involved in "possible prostitution activity."

Taylor and her friend were not actually engaged in sex work, but Taylor was nonetheless placed under arrest when police found an outstanding probation violation from Illinois for credit card fraud, according to The Des Moines Register, which first reported on Taylor's case in an op-ed by columnist Rekha Basu. Taylor explained to the paper she had served time at age 17 for the charge, but the probation violation stemmed from her not yet paying $500 in fines. That nonpayment resulted in a $20,000 warrant for Taylor's appearance at a scheduled court date later this month. 

Some of the funds raised in Taylor's defense went to paying that outstanding fine, and the Transgender Law Center reports that the Illinois warrant has now been vacated. 

Police also found that Taylor had checked into the hotel under a name different from her own — an act not considered a crime. Police also found spironolactone hydrochlroide — a common medication used in trans women's hormone therapy to accompany estrogen — among Taylor's belongings, despite her not having a prescription in her belongings. Taylor maintains that she does have a prescription for the medication, she just wasn't traveling with it. 

Taylor was charged with "malicious prosecution" — defined as a "serious misdemeanor" for "a person who causes or attempts to cause another to be indicted or prosecuted for any public offense" — and possession of prescription drugs without a prescription. She was taken to Polk County Jail, where she was reportedly patted down by two guards: a female officer for the top half of her body and a male officer for the bottom half, she told the Register.

Jail officials explained their decisions by saying they were aware that trans women face a heightened risk of sexual assault when placed in men's cells, but that they did not feel "comfortable" placing her with women. Trans prisoners as well as immigration detainees are often held in isolation for their own "protection," despite the act being shown to cause psychological harm. Although Taylor initially told jail staffers she wanted to be housed with other female inmates, she ultimately agreed to be held in "protective custody," meaning a private medical cell without a roommate.

Check back for an in-depth feature, including a discussion with Taylor herself, tomorrow on The Advocate.

In the News: Des Moines Register

Jail inmate helps Iowa’s transgender learning curve

If all goes according to plan, Meagan Taylor should be out of Polk County Jail and heading home to Belleville, Ill. Thanks to the generosity of strangers, her Iowa bond has been posted and the five-year-old Illinois fines that triggered her arrest warrant from that state should be paid.

But as the circumstances leading to Taylor’s July 13 West Des Moines arrest prove, all can’t be trusted to go according to plan, especially when you’re black, transgender and on a trip to a new place with a trans friend. Your appearance might be deemed suspicious by the hotel manager, setting off a call that brings police to your room. An outstanding $500 fine, incurred when you were 17, might now have escalated to $1,713 and generated a warrant. Had you come from wealthy stock, that might have been paid off long ago, buffering you from the indiscretions of youth. Then you might not have given the wrong name when police showed up at your hotel room. Had you not been transgender, the hormone pills you take to make your physical being match your mental one probably wouldn’t have been in your purse.
Iowa already tops the nation in the rate at which it incarcerates black people. Add in trans and you’re likely out of luck.
We might hear these statistics, but when a Meagan Taylor, whose legal name is Derez Flowers, comes along, we get to see how it works in real life. “It’s still hard to be black and transgender,” said Taylor Tuesday in an interview in her cell in the medical unit of Polk County Jail. “You get racially profiled. They think we’re all doing stuff.”

For all her problems, Taylor comes across as a sweet 22-year-old who unsuspectingly landed in a bad spot, when all she really wants to be doing is nails and hair. She goes to cosmetology school and works in a salon. But she also got lucky: Her story inspired an outpouring of donations topping $4,000 in just a few days. The fund drive was taken up by Megan Rohrer, a Lutheran pastor in San Francisco with the Welcome Ministry, after a column on Taylor appeared in this space last week. Locally, activists have picketed the Drury Inn — which remains tight lipped — on Taylor’s behalf.

She also drew support from an unexpected place: the jail itself. “The jail had a lot to do with getting my story out there,” said Taylor. It was Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy who reached out to me about Taylor’s story because he wanted aspects of it to reach the LGBT population, and get their input on how some things should be handled. McCarthy says there’s “a disconnect” between law enforcement and some sectors of society. “Issues like this should not be resolved by the justice system alone,” he told me. “There has to be input from society in general.”
That seems an awfully enlightened position for a county sheriff to take. McCarthy said Caitlyn Jenner has helped serve as a catalyst. He thinks in Hollywood, this would be a “ non-issue,” though I suspect it would still be one, maybe just less of one. “It’s an issue here,” he said, “because we haven’t crossed those bridges yet.”

This is also significant because Taylor had complained earlier of feeling alone and isolated in the medical unit, and some activists around the country took that to mean she’d been placed in solitary confinement. Some critics slammed the jail, even going so far as to say it bordered on “torture,” said Donna Red Wing, who heads the LGBT organization One Iowa. She visited the jail Tuesday and was impressed with the care officials have taken with Taylor. They are bound by state law that requires men to be placed with men and women with women. But given the high incidence of assaults nationally on transgender inmates, jail officials wouldn’t put Taylor in a male unit. They also said she had requested protective custody, so they housed her in what the jail director calls the “penthouse” of the facility — with a television, hospital bed and telephone access.

Taylor now says she has been treated very well and that jail officials stretched to give her access to people who could help her.

There’s a learning curve all around; that’s inevitable. But maybe the lesson is that the best way to handle the discomfort of an unfamiliar situation is to try and get more educated and familiar with it, rather than jump to the worst conclusions — as Drury Inn seems to have done. For all that Taylor had to endure, this story has an uplifting twist in the way that some people who never met her — maybe never met a transgender person at all — reached out in outrage and empathy to support her. If only we all only followed our better instincts.

In the News:Mic

Why This San Francisco Pastor Is Raising Money for a Trans Woman of Color Jailed in Iowa

Most people don't expect to end up in jail while they're on vacation.

But that's exactly what happened to Meagan Taylor, a 22-year-old black transgender woman from St. Louis who visited Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month. Taylor and a friend, an unnamed woman who is reportedly also transgender, were staying at the town's Drury Inn when hotel personnel called the police to report "two males dressed as females" who they suspect of possibly working as prostitutes.
Meagan Taylor before her arrest.
Source: San Francisco Welcome Ministry
Taylor studies cosmetology and was not engaged in sex work, but when cops arrived they found hormones she uses to aid her gender transition and arrested her for using prescription drugs without a prescription. Thanks to a host of other legal entanglements, including $500 in fines she owes Illinois authorities because of a previous conviction for credit card fraud at age 17, Taylor remains in jail. 
But she's not alone.

Pastor Megan Rohrer of San Francisco's The Welcome Ministry heard about Taylor's story from friends in Iowa. Rohrer, who is the first trans pastor ordained by the Lutheran Church and uses the pronoun "they," says Taylor's story is all too common. "I had just visited South Dakota and had all of the same fears [of being profiled], but nothing had happened to me," Rohrer told Mic on Wednesday. "What happened to Meagan could have happened to me."
Meagan Taylor speaks to Pastor Rohrer from jail.
Source: San Francisco Welcome Ministry
Walking while trans: Transgender women of color in particular are so often profiled by police as sex workers that the phenomenon has even earned a name: walking while trans, which was detailed by German Lopez at Vox.2014 report from Columbia University showed the extent to which law enforcement polices gender. "LGBT people, specifically transgender women of color and LGBT youth of color, are endemically profiled as being engaged in sex work, public lewdness or other sexual offenses," researchers wrote. "Police in many jurisdictions use possession of condoms as evidence, supporting arrests for prostitution-related offenses."

Last Friday, Rohrer began crowdsourcing funds to help Taylor raise money for bond and other legal expenses. So far, the response has been overwhelming and they've raised more than $5,000. 
"When transphobia and discrimination feels so big we don't know how to fix it, sometimes raising $4,000 feels more tangible," Rohrer said. "We can support the trans community by fixing something smaller."

Even though the money for her bond has been raised, Taylor will likely remain in jail until an Aug. 10 court date, unless that court date is moved up. 

In the news: Boston Edge

Trans Woman Says She Was Profiled, Wrongfully Arrested

Wednesday Jul 22, 2015
Approved screen shot from a video chat between Pastor Megan Rohrer and Meagan Taylor
Approved screen shot from a video chat between Pastor Megan Rohrer and Meagan Taylor  (Source:The Welcome Ministry)
A transgender woman of color, who was arrested by Iowa police July 13, says she was actually booked because of her gender identity, the Des Moines Register.

Megan Taylor, 22, was visiting Des Moines, Iowa with a friend, who is also a trans woman, from Illinois. The pair stayed in the Durry Inn. According to reports, hotel workers contacted police to report "two males dressed as females" and were concerned about "possible prostitution activity."

When cops showed up at the hotel room, they found Taylor, a hairstylist and a cosmetology student, in possession of hormones in an unmarked bottle and charged her with possession of prescription drugs without a prescription. Think Progress points out Taylor gave a fake name to police and argued that she was being treated unfairly. Police then charged her with "malicious prosecution," an aggravated misdemeanor.

Cops then conducted a background check on Taylor and found she had an outstanding probation violation from Illinois for a 2010 credit card fraud conviction. Taylor said she served her time for the crime when she was 17 but still owes $500 in fines.

"What happened to me was definitely based on my gender," Taylor said. "Transgender people are being gender and racially profiled and it has to stop."

Taylor's bond was set at $2,000 but she didn't know anyone locally to co-sign her release and she does not have a lawyer, Think Progress notes.

When Taylor was taken into custody, police debated where to place her - officials didn't want to place her with men, but were uncomfortable putting her with women. According to Polk County Sheriff's Office, Taylor requested "protective custody," which means she was held in the medical unit of Polk County Jail by herself. Think Progress reports when she was brought into custody, she was patted down by a female officer on the top half of her body, and by a male officer for her bottom half.

Since the incident, Pastor Megan Rohrer, a member of the Welcome Ministry in San Francisco, launched a crowdfunding campaign, which has raised more than $5,000 for Taylor's fines in Iowa and Illinois. The money is also going to be used to help her legally change her name and get a new ID with her preferred gender.

Think Progress reports a number of people have shown support for Taylor and about 20 people protested outside the Durry Inn last Saturday, asking for a public apology and for the hotel to reimburse Taylor for the room and cost of arrest. The Des Moines Register wrote protesters also wanted the hotel "to commit to training and development for hotel staff regarding positive interactions with LGBTQ communities and communities of color." Officials from Durry Inn have yet to comment on the incident.

While it was initially believed Taylor would remain in custody until August 10, the Des Moines Register reported Wednesday in a separate article that she was able to post her $2,000 bail, thanks to the donations from the crowdfunding campaign. The newspaper writes she signed an extradition waiver, which allows authorities to transport her back to Illinois.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In the News: Des Moines Register

Travel is tricky for transgender population

As a transgender Lutheran pastor I was saddened by the article, “Arrested While Transgender: Sex of inmate tests jailers,” [July 17] not only because of the injustice of the arrest, but the unfortunate reporting of information about Meagan Taylor’s medical status and private parts.

Since the information is already out there, I hope that people will use it as an opportunity to learn about the discrimination that trans individuals face as we travel and the on-going diversity training that is needed for individuals working in hospitality, law enforcement and criminal justice.

Born and raised in Sioux Falls, S.D., a part of my heart will always be in the Midwest. A few weeks ago, when I was presiding at a wedding, I was afraid. Each hotel stay, each trip to the bathroom was a possible encounter with violence or discrimination. The article about Taylor reminds me that my fears are real.

From the safety of my home in San Francisco, I pray this story will move us ever closer to the just world that we all long for. May God bless Taylor, Des Moines and all who are trying to do their best in a time when the world is changing so fast.

— Pastor Megan Rohrer, Grace Lutheran, San Francisco, Calif.

In the News: Refinery29

Movement Grows To Free Woman Arrested For "Walking While Trans"

Reposted from:
On July 13, Meagan Taylor was arrested in Des Moines, IA. Her crime? She was charged with prostitution, but a growing numbers of supporters say she was actually just guilty of "walking while transgender" — and now they're are rallying to get her out.

On July 13, Taylor, 22, was visiting Des Moines when a staff member at the hotel where she was staying called the police, concerned that Taylor and her friend, also a trans woman, were involved in prostitution. When she was arrested, police found a hormone-therapy drug in her possession but say she didn’t have her prescription on her. Further digging by authorities revealed an unpaid fine from a long-ago violation relating to a credit card.

However, from the beginning, the catalyst for her arrest seemed to have been her appearance, not her actions; the police were told "two males dressed as females" were at the hotel, according to the local paper. Once in the Polk County Jail, Taylor was placed in a medical unit, in isolation.

"The arrest of Meagan Taylor is another example of how transgender women of color are targeted by the criminal legal system simply for existing," says ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio. "Using prescription medication and staying the night at a hotel are things that so many of us take for granted, but for transgender women of color these daily life activities can lead to arrest."

Support for Taylor has also come in the form of tweets using the hashtag #FreeMeaganTaylor, which has been tweeted out more than 600 times.
Rev. Megan Rohrer, a Lutheran pastor based in San Francisco, who is also transgender and has roots in the Midwest, spearheaded a crowdfunding campaign that has raised the money to pay Taylor's $2,000 bail and other necessary expenses — and there's a chance she'll be released on bail in the coming days.

Although Rohrer is pleased with the progress, Taylor's story still illuminates how far trans rights still have to go. "Meagan mistakenly believed that things were getting better because of all the positive press for trans individuals and how far transgender rights have come recently," Rohrer writes. "But trans women of color experience discrimination and violence at unacceptable rates. I hope Meagan's story reminds my transgender siblings to be safe, educates the general public about transgender people, and shines a light on all the faithful people who are supporting LGBTQ individuals."

In the News: News One

Black Transgender Woman Was Profiled & Arrested During Vacation, Now She’s Stuck In Iowa

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A transgender woman from Lahokia, Illinois was arrested and held in a Polk County Jail for a crime she says she didn’t commit.

Meagan Taylor was vacationing with friends at the Drury Inn in Des Moines, Iowa last Monday when she was accused of soliciting sex in the lobby by an employee, reports Advocate. While being questioned by police, old warrants against Taylor were discovered, including credit card fraud and a probation violation from $500 in fines.

The 22-year-old stated the fraud charge was from her teenage years and was resolved.

She was also discovered with medication commonly used for transgender women to accompany estrogen — spironolactone hydrochlroide.

Despite her explanations, she was jailed and charged with malicious prosecution, possession of prescription drugs, and arrested without a warrant.

Police failed to provide a clear explanation why she was jailed. Taylor, who gave the police a fake name out of fear, believes she was arrested for being a transgender woman. During Taylor’s detainment, two different police officers patted her down; a female officer for the top half of her body, and a male officer for the bottom half.
“It seemed like they were trying to find something to charge me with,” she said. “I lied about my name [but] I was not doing any illegal activity. The lady called police because I was transgender and was with a transgender friend.”
Taylor’s bail of $2,000 was paid by donations gathered from Rev. Megan Rohrer, the first openly transgender Lutheran minster.

Because the jail doesn’t have a policy for transgender women who haven’t had gender-affirming surgeries, she was in a medical holding unit, where she was able to speak to Rohrer through a webcam.

“What happened to me, was definitely based on my gender,” Taylor told Rohrer from the single cell. “Transgender people are being gender and racially profiled, and it has to stop.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office released a statement assuring reporters that Taylor is safe, but didn’t reveal the reason behind her arrest.
“The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is working diligently to provide fair, equitable treatment for Ms. Taylor while providing a safe, secure environment during her pretrial detainment,” said authorities in the news release.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time a transgender woman of color has been accused of being a prostitute. A woman named Monica Jones was arrested for “manifesting prostitution” in 2013.
To help with Taylor’s pending case, check out Rohrer’s fundraising site here. 

In the News: Des Moines Register

Transgender inmate makes bail, awaits extradition

A 22-year-old inmate who says her gender identification landed her in the Polk County Jail has posted $2,000 bail raised by donations from strangers.

Meagan Taylor, whose legal name is Derez Flowers, signed an extradition waiver allowing authorities to transport her back to Illinois, where she could face additional fines of about $1,700. But an online fundraising effort in the wake of a Des Moines Register column Friday might also cover Flowers’ fines in Illinois.

The Rev. Megan Rohrer of The Welcome Ministry in San Francisco helped raise the money.

Taylor’s July 13 arrest has generated protests locally against the West Des Moines Drury Inn, where Taylor was arrested. Taylor told The Register she was visiting Des Moines with the friend, who is also transgender, and they were staying at the inn when she noticed the staff “acting really funny” around them. Then police showed up at their hotel room.

Police arrested Taylor after they said she gave a fake name and found prescription drugs in an unmarked bottle.

There also was a warrant from Illinois for an unpaid $500 fine related to a 2010 credit card fraud case, which had snowballed to $1,713.

A smiling Taylor, interviewed in her cell Tuesday after signing the extradition waiver, said she was happy with the outpouring of support.

“I was crying when she (Rohrer) said, ‘We’ve raised over $4,000 for you,’ ” she said.

She said she also was grateful to Polk County Jail officials and Sheriff Bill McCarthy, who “had a lot to do with getting my story out there.”

McCarthy had reached out to the Register about trying to do right by the transgender inmate on issues such as housing and frisking. Taylor has been housed in the jail’s medical unit in a private room with a hospital bed, a TV and telephone access.

Jail officials said Taylor had opted for protective custody, a voluntary request to keep a detainee separate from the general population. But in an earlier interview, Taylor, who is training to be a beautician, had said she didn’t like being isolated from other inmates.

Tuesday morning, she said the officers had been very supportive of her, allowing her to see guests she didn’t know who wanted to help. Assaults against transgender inmates are high in jails, and Iowa law requires male inmates to be housed with other men and women with women.

Nonetheless, some activist organizations have faulted the jail, saying Taylor was being kept in isolation. McCarthy and other county officials met Monday with Donna Red Wing, who heads the LGBT rights organization One Iowa, to clear up such concerns.

“I felt they were being as respectful as I could imagine,” said Red Wing after the meeting. “They were really intentional about that.”

She said the West Des Moines police may have had no choice but to arrest Taylor once they learned of the Illinois warrant. But the Drury Inn “made a bigoted move by calling police,” she said.

The inn has not returned several calls for comment.

West Des Moines Police charged Taylor with possession of prescription drugs without a prescription and malicious prosecution.

The police officer’s narrative said Taylor had “identified herself with a Missouri ID as Sylvester Anderson,” but Taylor said she didn’t present any ID, just said a fake name because she was scared. That still generated the malicious prosecution charge, according to West Des Moines Police spokesman Sgt. Brent Kock.

Taylor said the unmarked bottle of pills were part of her hormone treatments, and she has a prescription.
“If she does have a prescription, that can be taken care of through the court system,” Kock said.
Taylor is due back in Polk County Court Aug. 26 on the Iowa charges.

Under the law, Illinois authorities have 10 days to pick her up or Iowa can release her, said Sgt. Brandon Bracelin, sheriff’s office spokesman. However, with her Illinois fines being paid Tuesday, Taylor hoped that could be avoided.

The donated money had been wired to Taylor’s aunt in Illinois, who Taylor said was paying the fine.