Isabella Red Cloud, a Native transgender woman who identifies as Two Spirit was told to leave the Union Gospel Mission of Sioux Falls, South Dakota because she was wearing a dress. As she was being escorted from the facility, a staff member identified in the video as “Don” told Red Cloud she would have to leave because she was “dressed inappropriately,” and that she could not come back until she “dressed like a man,” reported Indian Country Media Network.
Red Cloud decided to try to get some food from the “Christian” organization and she returned the next day with a few friends, but was again told to leave. She recorded the incident on her phone, she was cited by police for trespassing.
Red Cloud says she was hurt, cried and considered suicide. She told ICMN in an interview why she decided to video the incident and post it to Facebook.
“I was filled with so many thoughts and I really didn’t know what to do. All I knew at that moment was that I had to do what I needed to do to get this out there to the public, she said.
In an interview with LGBTQ Nation about the incident involving a member of their staff and the Native transgender woman, the Union Gospel Mission of Sioux Falls Fran Stenberg said, “I don’t know a thing about a woman being turned away. It was a man that was turned away,” Stenberg said, who confirmed that he understood the term “transgender.”
“…Occasionally we have to refuse service to somebody because they’re disruptive … [Being out as a trans woman] creates an animosity and we try to keep a safe place for others,” said Stenberg.
On the Sunday after Saturday’s incident, Red Cloud says she returned to the mission waving a rainbow flag and attempted to join the Union Mission’s Sunday evening church services. Red Cloud was given a citation as they were praying and singing.
Red Cloud said even though she was cited, the police were supportive of her position as a Native Transgender woman. Red Cloud says she has also received a lot of support on Facebook since the incident. “There has been an outpouring of comments. There were a few not-so-nice comments, and I tell people not to be mean to me. It’s a matter of composing myself to do the right thing. But there has been a great outpouring.”
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)