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Iowa ACLU furious over treatment of two black, transgender persons at West Des Moines hotel


This news story was published on December 8, 2015.
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WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – The Iowa ACLU is just one agency that is enraged by the treatment of a transgender woman at a West Des Moines, Iowa Drury Inn Hotel, where a manager profiled the woman to police, leading to her arrest and an eventual lawsuit.

According to the Iowa ACLU:

Meagan Taylor booking photo at Polk County Jail

Meagan Taylor booking photo at Polk County Jail

Meagan Taylor and her best friend were on their way to her friend’s brother’s funeral when they checked in at the Drury Inn in West Des Moines. Both are Black and transgender.Even though Meagan has a Gold Key Club card membership with the hotel chain and had a reservation, check-in took an hour, compared to other guests’ mere 5 or 10 minutes. Meagan had to produce ID twice. Staff openly showed disgust with the two and whispered in front of them. As Meagan said, she felt she degraded and humiliated just because of who she was.

Read Meagan’s story and learn more about transgender rights in Iowa. 

Once they were checked in, they thought the worst was over. They were wrong.

At some point, staff decided the two might be engaged in illegal sex workers, and called 911 because they were “two males dressed as females.” Checking in two transgender people is hardly an emergency. In fact, listen to the 911 recording. When police came to the hotel, they found no evidence of prostitution, but they arrested her for having hormone medicine without a copy of her prescription on hand and because of unpaid fines from a juvenile charge in her home state.

Meagan missed the funeral that was so important to her to attend, and spent eight lonely and scary days in jail before people who heard about her case in the news raised funds for her release. The charges stemming from her arrest were dismissed, but Meagan is left with the harmful experience of discrimination she endured.

Meagan Taylor ended up spending 8 days in jail.  Aided by the ACLU of Iowa, she is suing the Drury Inn for discriminating against her because she is Black and transgender, which theACLUS says is illegal under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

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3 Responses to Iowa ACLU furious over treatment of two black, transgender persons at West Des Moines hotel

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    November 19, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Trans are the worst scum of the earth.

  2. Avatar

    Marla Randolph Stevens Reply Report comment

    April 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    If the hotel staff had not made like they all have pointy white sheet outfits in their closets instead of professionals used to dealing with the public — all of the public, professionals who had been properly screened by Drury Inn management in standard issues faced by the minority groups who make up their customer base, including the transgendered, they would not have had bias and animus-based suspicions that led them to invade their customers’ privacy and be openly hostile toward them from the get-go and illegally discriminate against them and facilitate the discrimination of the notoriously bigoted and incompetent West Des Moines Police Department.

    Would they have busted an old straight white lady carrying a diuretic and other prescription medications in a pill reminder case recommended by her physicians and typically carried sans the paper prescriptions? If you answer in the affirmative, you are a fool.

    If the motel had not acted with gross bigotry, everything downstream from that would not have happened. Thus nothing is Ms. Taylor’s fault and every bit of it falls squarely on the Drury Inn.

    The longer the Drury Inn fails to issue a public apology, pay Ms. Taylor’s damages and fees associated with this case as well as a generous amount to help her recover from the trauma they caused as well as make it clear that they take the harm not only to her but to the community seriously, and show that they have taken all the proper steps to ensure that an incident such as this will never happen again, it should be treated as the pariah it is.

    Until the Drury Inn properly resolves this notorious incident, businesses should think long and hard about their relationship with people of good will and avoid doing business with the Drury Inn.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 9, 2015 at 8:53 am

    she broke the law went to jail and its the hotels fault for calling the police? wtf? maybe if you dont want people whispering behind your back you should dress like a man you freak show.