Transgender Woman Speaks Out After Being Denied Service At Union Gospel Mission

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A Sioux Falls transgender woman is speaking out after she says she was denied service at Union Gospel Mission because of how she was dressed.

“You have to dress like a guy and then you can come back, “says Isabella Red Cloud as she recalls being turned away at the Union Gospel Mission.

Those are the words Isabella Red Cloud, says a staff member at the Union Gospel Mission said to her when she tried to eat breakfast at the shelter over the weekend.

“I cried, I contemplated suicide, I felt sad, I felt weak, “says Red Cloud.

Red Cloud says she was denied service not only on Saturday but again on Sunday when she returned for church service.

“It took everything in my power to sit there and not get violent because I just got out of prison and every time anybody has ever said a derogatory word to me about my sexuality.  I called them out in there, “says Red Cloud.

The Union Gospel Mission says they will not provide services to transgender people and they will stand firm in their belief.

“We need to, first of all, make sure that it is a safe place because we have women and children here. Sometimes certain situations bring about animosity and so we have to eliminate that and sometimes that causes us to have to make the decision to deny a service, “says Executive Director of Union Gospel Mission Fran Stenberg.

Red Cloud says she is a Christian and is disappointed in the actions of the shelter.

“I wear who I am on my sleeve and because I do that, I’m looked at as a sinner, “says Red Cloud.

The organization TransAction South Dakota, says the transgender community has been seeing what they call “religious right discrimination” on a national level and locally and they are hoping Red Cloud’s story brings light to the issues the community faces.

“We are primarily just disappointed. We would like the opportunity to sit down with the folks at Union Gospel Mission, to give them the opportunity to humanize our experience more and get to know us on a personal level, “says Board member of TransAction South Dakota Kendra Heathscott.

Red Cloud says she will not let the action of one person change how she views others and she’s hopeful there will come a change.

“We all have to love one another, regardless of who we are and who they are and how much hatred there is in our hearts for certain things, “says Red Cloud.

Red Cloud says police gave her a criminal trespassing citation and she’s not allowed on the property.

Red Cloud has a GoFundMe page set up for assistance. For more information or assistance regarding TransAction South Dakota, you can visit their Facebook page.