Isabella Red Cloud, a Two Spirit transgender woman from Sioux Falls (South Dakota), was ejected from Union Gospel Mission (a Christian shelter) over the weekend for wearing a dress. Just like Jesus commanded.
Isabella Red Cloud went to the Mission on Saturday 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.
Union Gospel Mission Director Fran Stenburg said he didn’t know the details of Red Cloud’s interactions with staff on Saturday or Sunday, but confirmed that 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,” Stenburg said.
Transgender women, of course, would disagree that God created them as men. That’s kind of the whole point. (Isabella Red Cloud is Christian, for what it’s worth.)
This isn’t about illegal discrimination. The people who run Christian shelters have every right to be bigots, and South Dakota has no law preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. But the Christians don’t deserve a reputation for being kindhearted and magnanimous when their generosity only extends so far. If they can kick you out for wearing a dress, then let’s not pretend they actually care about helping the “least of these.” Their love is very, very conditional.
Dawn Ennis at LGBTQ Nation points out another irony:
Stenberg said his mission was acting according to the Bible. “Christianity is dependent on our obedience to God.” It’s interesting to note that on the mission’s website the founder is listed as Thomas F. Morse, a convicted felon who served time for murder.
Wearing a dress when the owner thinks you should be wearing pants? Blasphemy.
Red Cloud and some supporters marched from a local Catholic church back to the Mission the next day, rainbow flag in tow, hoping to attend Sunday night’s church services. That didn’t go so well, either.
This time, “Don,” the same man who ejected her on Saturday, called police to have them removed for trespassing on Sunday.
Red Cloud said they walked past him and were sitting, praying and singing for about ten minutes before police arrived and escorted them out, handing each a trespassing notice that they were required by law to stay off the premises for six months.
There are good reasons a faith-based shelter might want to exclude certain people from using their services. A transgender person requesting help is not one of those reasons. This is selective charity. It’s discriminatory on an ethical level (even if it doesn’t meet a legal bar) and goes against whatever narrative Christians think they’re spreading.
(Screenshot via KDLT)