The American Civil Liberties Union claims a black transgender woman from St. Louis was discriminated against because of her race and gender while trying to check into a hotel in Iowa. Rita Bettis with the ACLU of Iowa said a complaint against a Drury Inn hotel in Des Moines has been filed on behalf of 22-year-old Meagan Taylor.
Bettis said hotel staff called West Des Moines police to report possible prostitution because two transgender individuals attempted to check in.
“Calling the police on a paying customer based on nothing more than her gender identity is an extreme form of illegal discrimination under Iowa’s civil rights act. Being transgender is not a crime,” said Bettis.
Taylor was arrested for possessing hormone pills without a prescription. She was held in the Polk County Jail for eight days before the charges were dropped.
“She was unable to attend her best friend’s brother’s funeral that was so important to her,” said Bettis. Of course, she underwent this harmful, painful experience of being discriminated against based just on who she is.”
The complaint could allow Taylor to file a lawsuit in district court, if she and the hotel do not settle.
Pat Curtis, Iowa Radio Network, contributed to this story.