Meagan Taylor

That is the name behind the substance of this headline:

A black transgender woman is in jail because police were called on her for being transgender

Remember her name.

And remember the key details:

Meagan Taylor, 22, was arrested Monday by Des Moines police after staff at the hotel she was staying with another transgender friend called police. According to the police report, officers were called by the hotel about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity,” according to the Des Moines Register.

If indeed this is an accurate statement of the facts – that the police were called solely because “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity” solely by virtue of Taylor and her friend being read by hotel employees – then the hotel and the employees violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Period.

[Iowa Code Section] 216.2 DEFINITIONS.

10. “Gender identity” means a gender-related identity of a
person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.

13. a. “Public accommodation” means each and every place,
establishment, or facility of whatever kind, nature, or class that
caters or offers services, facilities, or goods for a fee or charge
to nonmembers of any organization or association utilizing the place,
establishment, or facility, provided that any place, establishment,
or facility that caters or offers services, facilities, or goods to
the nonmembers gratuitously shall be deemed a public accommodation if
the accommodation receives governmental support or subsidy. Public
accommodation shall not mean any bona fide private club or other
place, establishment, or facility which is by its nature distinctly
private, except when such distinctly private place, establishment, or
facility caters or offers services, facilities, or goods to the
nonmembers for fee or charge or gratuitously, it shall be deemed a
public accommodation during such period.

[Iowa Code Section] 216.7 UNFAIR PRACTICES — ACCOMMODATIONS OR SERVICES.
1. It shall be an unfair or discriminatory practice for any  owner, lessee, sublessee, proprietor, manager, or superintendent of any public accommodation or any agent or employee thereof:
a. To refuse or deny to any person because of race, creed,
color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin,
religion, or disability the accommodations, advantages, facilities,
services, or privileges thereof, or otherwise to discriminate against
any person because of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation,
gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability in the
furnishing of such accommodations, advantages, facilities, services,
or privileges.
b. To directly or indirectly advertise or in any other manner
indicate or publicize that the patronage of persons of any particular
race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,
national origin, religion, or disability is unwelcome, objectionable,
not acceptable, or not solicited.
2. This section shall not apply to:
a. Any bona fide religious institution with respect to any
qualifications the institution may impose based on religion, sexual
orientation, or gender identity when such qualifications are related
to a bona fide religious purpose.
b. The rental or leasing to transient individuals of less
than six rooms within a single housing accommodation by the occupant
or owner of such housing accommodation if the occupant or owner or
members of that person’s family reside therein.

You will hear that Taylor has a minor criminal record.

So?

If the police were called solely because “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity” solely by virtue of Taylor and her friend being read by hotel employees then not only did the hotel and the employees violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act, there was no legitimate reason for the police to have cause to interact with her at the time and place in question!

You will hear that Taylor gave a false name.

So?

If the police were called solely because “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity” solely by virtue of Taylor and her friend being read by hotel employees then not only did the hotel and the employees violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act, there was no legitimate reason for the police to have cause to interact with her at the time and place in question!

You will hear that Taylor had a Missouri ID despite being from Illinois.

So?

If the police were called solely because “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity” solely by virtue of Taylor and her friend being read by hotel employees then not only did the hotel and the employees violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act, there was no legitimate reason for the police to have cause to interact with her at the time and place in question!

You will hear that Taylor had some spironolactone, possibly without a prescription.

So?

If the police were called solely because “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity” solely by virtue of Taylor and her friend being read by hotel employees then not only did the hotel and the employees violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act, there was no legitimate reason for the police to have cause to interact with her at the time and place in question!

Rekha Basu of the Des Moines Register ends her item about Taylor’s situation with this observation:

Maybe the real offense is a private business calling police on paying guests because they didn’t conform to gender stereotypes.

Maybe?

The Iowa Legislature answered that question in 2007.

My advice to the Drury Inn’s legal department?  Look into that.

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