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.