- Associated Press - Sunday, April 30, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Dozens have rallied in support of a Sioux Falls transgender woman who said she was told to leave the Union Gospel Mission for wearing a dress.

The Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/2ph6AGF) reported Isabella Red Cloud went to Union Gospel Mission on April 22 for breakfast, but was told she needed to change out of her dress and into male clothing before being served.

“I was told I could come back when I was dressed appropriately,” Red Cloud said.

Red Cloud went live on Facebook following the incident. She returned to the mission and was escorted out again, broadcasting the incident.

“Places like that are for people like me,” Red Cloud said. “They’re supposed to be there for everybody.”

On Saturday, Red Cloud stood wearing the same dress that got her denied breakfast at Union Gospel Mission a week before. About 35 supporters stood before her, carrying signs and flags.

Union Gospel Mission director Fran Stenberg says while he doesn’t know the details of Red Cloud’s interactions with staff, staff has asked men to leave for wearing dresses on multiple occasions.

“It’s not about transgender; it’s about what’s in the heart and soul of a man. God created you as a man,” Stenberg said.

LGBT activists say the mission’s policy indicates a need for change in South Dakota, which has no state-level protections against discrimination on the basis of sexuality.

Kendra Heathscott, of TransAction South Dakota, said she hopes to start a dialogue with the mission to address issues of transgender access to the soup kitchen.

Red Cloud had been asked to leave the mission on one other occasion nearly seven years ago.


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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