Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Press Release: Celebrating the Release of Meagan Taylor

Meagan Taylor, a black transgender woman who was arrested in Iowa when a hotel worker called the police due to her gender identity, was released from the Polk County Jail earlier today.  Welcome, led by our Executive Director, Pastor Megan Rohrer raised over $5,500 to pay for Meagan's bond in Iowa and outstanding fees from a 2010 case in Illinois.  Additional funds will be used to safely transport Meagan home to Illinois and to pay for her name change and an ID that matches her preferred name and gender.

"My tears of sorrow turned to tears of joy when I learned that Meagan was going to be released from jail," said Pastor Rohrer.  "I want to thank the 133 people who donated funds to help us remove the financial barriers and the Transgender Law Center who expedited the legal barriers that were keeping Meagan in jail."

Pastor Rohrer has been in regular contact with Meagan and her family, offering support and pastoral care.  Welcome, whose main work is with LGBT homeless individuals in San Francisco, became involved in this case in order to lift up the issues that disproportionately affect transgender women of color and to raise awareness to the ways that compounding fees can impact vulnerable individuals.

Over the years, Welcome has taken on special projects to support to LGBTQ individuals around the country, because we believe it will help prevent homelessness in San Francisco.

"I have heard too many stories from homeless LGBT individuals who moved to San Francisco in hopes of finding safety from discrimination, only to find some of the country's highest housing costs," said Pastor Rohrer.  "I hope the overwhelming support that Meagan has received, will help other transgender people feel less alone and lead to diversity training for individuals working in hospitality, criminal justice and police departments across the country.

Contact Information:
Pastor Megan Rohrer:, 415-827-2587
PGPs: They/Their

Link to the fundraising page to see funds raised and spent to date:


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Press Release: Funds Raised to Free Meagan Taylor, a Transgender Woman Jailed in Iowa

Individuals interested in donating to free Meagan Taylor can do so here:


Meagan Nicole Taylor, is a transgender woman who lives in St. Louis.  While on a trip with a friend, a hotel manager called the police (possibly twice), because Taylor's identification did not match the name and gender identity that Taylor has used with family and friends for years.  

"What happened to me, was definitely based on my gender.  Transgender people are being gender and racially profiled and it has to stop," Taylor said.

Woken up by a knock at the hotel door around 9 am, Taylor was taken into custody because she did not have the prescription for her hormone treatments with her and for how she spoke to the officers, whom she felt were unjustly arresting her.

Thinking back on her arrest, Taylor says: "To the woman at the hotel and police officers who arrested me, I have no ill will towards you.  I think God will take care of it and help you gain more education about transgender individuals.  LGBTQ individuals are very happy and peaceful people."

Taylor was told that she would be held without release until trial, scheduled for August 10, 2015 and was feeling frustrated that she would not be able to prove that she had a prescription for her medications for nearly a month.  On top of the $2,000 bond for Taylor's release, $500 fine from a 2010 offense had tripled due to fees and penalties and a warrant from Illinois could not be dropped until the $1,713.20 fine was paid in full.

The Welcome Ministry, led by the transgender Lutheran pastor Megan Rohrer, has raised $3,601 as of 9:12 am on July 19th and will be working with Taylor's aunt to pay both the fines in Iowa and Illinois.  Updated information on the funds to free Taylor can be found at:

"Raised in the Midwest and a frequent traveler," Rohrer said, "I often fear that what happened to Meagan will happen to me.  I hope Meagan's story raises awareness, so that this never happens in Iowa or anywhere else in the country again."

"Think about if one of your kids was transgender.  What would you do?  And, how would you want society to treat them?" said Taylor.

Welcome's goal is to pay the fines and hopefully get Taylor release on Monday morning.  When she is released, supporters plan to have some of Taylor's favorite foods on hand (hot pickle, fried chicken and shrimp).

"I am thankful for all the support," said Taylor, who was moved to tears by the outpouring of support from over 80 donors and the transgender artists who had been forwarding information about the cause along on twitter.

Any additional funds, above the amount needed to pay for the fees for Taylor's release will be used to support LGBTQ homeless individuals in San Francisco and projects to uplift the voices of transgender individuals living in poverty.

"Meagan has a family that loves and supports her and a strong desire to support other LGBTQ individuals who are vulnerable, facing discrimination and in need of support.  After we get Meagan out of jail and she gets some rest, Welcome will continue to help her tell her story," said Pastor Rohrer.

The comments from Taylor in this press release are statements Meagan Taylor approved for sharing with the press and supporters.  They were transcribed in a web conference on July 19, 2015 from her isolation cell, by Pastor Megan Rohrer.

About Welcome:
Welcome seeks to provide a faithful response to poverty and to improve the quality of life for individuals in our community through hospitality; the arts; education; food; and referrals.

Individuals interested in donating to free Meagan Taylor can do so here:

Media Information:
  • Contact information for Pastor Megan Rohrer: 415-827-2587   @mmrohrer 
  • Pastor Megan Rohrer's PGPs for news stories are: They/Their
  • Despite some of the stories published, Meagan does not want information about her private parts included in stories about her.  You can find the GLAAD guidelines on reporting about transgender individuals here.
  • Meagan would like the press to use her preferred name, pronouns and photos in stories.  Her family has been honoring this request for years.  Name: Meagan Nichole Taylor  PGP: She/Her
  • Approved photos:
    Approved screen shot from a video chat between Pastor Megan Rohrer and Meagan Taylor on 7/19/2015

Links to Media Reports about This Story:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Arrested for Being Transgender: Meagan Taylor: Fundraiser for Bail: Advocating for Change

 Thank you to everyone who has supported the effort to help pay the fees and bond needed to get Meagan out of jail.  If you would like to donate to Welcome to support our other work with LGBTQ homeless individuals you are welcome to use the donate button above. 

 Now that Meagan is Free if you would like to provide her with additional funds or support, please contact her directly. 

Funds raised and designated to Welcome to "Free Meagan": $4,719

$955 in additional undesignated donations to Welcome between 6/21 and 7/23 were approved by the Welcome Board to cover additional fees (if needed) and to ensure that Meagan is able to legally change her name and get a new ID.  We apologize for not being clearer about this earlier, but our priority was Meagan's privacy, getting Meagan out of jail and ensuring that she was able to make her own decisions without pressure.  Donations will not be deposited in to Welcome's bank account until 8/13/2015.

Total Funds expended to date: $5,381

Final Expense Accounting:
  • $88 in web conferencing fees with Meagan in jail
  • $2,276 wired funds to pay Meagan's bond at the Polk County Jail ($2,100 of this will be returned after Meagan appears in court or the charges are dropped)
  • $1,825 wired funds to Meagan's family that paid her fees in Illinois 
  • $646 funds wired to Meagan in Iowa
  • $546 Instead of actual expenses for name change and ID fees, Meagan has opted to receive $500 to get the money in advance.
Meagan Taylor was the only individual making decisions about how funds were expended.  Welcome did not reimburse or accept requests for unsolicited reimbursement. We were saddened that so many strangers, expected funds raised to pay for Meagan Taylor's legal, would be distributed to them.  

* Notice that has been on this donation page, since start of the campaign: Welcome is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Your donation will be acknowledged with a letter for your tax records.  We are committed to paying Meagan's fees.  Any remaining donations raised above the actual cost of fees will be used to support LGBTQ homeless youth and transgender individuals living in poverty.  Meagan has requested that we pay it forward to other people in need. 

Meagan Taylor was arrested in Des Moines because she was transgender and it upset hotel staff.  She is currently being held in Polk County Jail with a $2,000 bail amount. You can learn more about the case here:

We don't know all the information about Meagan's story, nor do we wait to help people until we learn all the details of their past.  Poverty is complicated and no one is perfect.  Deeply rooted in faith, we believe that all people deserve another chance.  If you agree, we hope you will help raise attention to this issue.

While not homeless, Meagan's story is familiar to us.  At Welcome, we have traveled the country to document the stories of LGBTQ homeless youth.  And the affects of laws targeting homeless youth and LGBT individuals of color.

Here is a video from New York to learn more about some of the issues that Meagan is experiencing.