A biological male who identifies as a woman in Xenia, Ohio has been charged with three counts of public indecency after allegedly walking around naked in the female locker room at a YMCA.
According to Dayton Daily News, Rachel Glines, of Fairborn, was charged in Xenia Municipal Court with three counts of public indecency for incidents that took place in September, November, and at a third unspecified time. Underage girls were present on each of the occasions, and all charges are fourth-degree misdemeanors.
In November, a local mother of two filed a report to Xenia Police Department saying that a biological male was using the women's locker room at the facility, reports Dayton247. In her report, the mother alleged that the biological male was "completely exposed to the rest of the locker room area."
The mother says she was informed by YMCA management that they could not tell the male who identifies as a woman not to use the female locker room, which sparked outrage in the community.
According to the criminal complaint, Xenia police received "several complaints of a naked man in the females’ locker room."
On January 24, 2023, Xenia City Council President Will Urschel warned local residents of the situation at the YMCA.
"I encourage you with your families to just let people be aware of what’s going on with the restroom there," said Urschel.
Local news reports that Glines is being supported by LGBTQ+ advocacy group PFLAG.
"Nobody knows what really happened in this case, and what the reality is," PFLAG President Karen Shirk told Dayton247. "We do know it has increased hate and increased discrimination, and suppressed love and care and acceptance."
However, one legal expert says a conviction will be hard to come by because no law has been broken.
"It’s going to be difficult to convict this person of public indecency," Thaddeus Hoffmeister, professor of law at the University of Dayton, told Dayton247. "My understanding is that the YMCA granted this person permission."
"They identify as a woman; they went to the women’s bathroom," Hoffmeister continued. "YMCA says transgender individuals could go to the bathroom they identify in. I don’t see them breaking the law."
Hoffmeister went on to clarify that, unlike some states, Ohio does not have a law in place requiring that a person use facilities that match their birth sex.
The YMCA said in a statement that state non-discrimination laws require it to allow transgender individuals to use locker rooms, changing rooms and bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The statement said that there were guidelines posted on the premises asking patrons to "remain properly covered while in public areas of the locker room."
Speaking to local media, Urschel said this incident highlights the conflict between civil rights laws and public indecency laws.
"Personally, if there’s this level of confusion, I think we should resolve that confusion," he said. "The pendulum has swung to where gender identity rights have trumped laws of privacy and public indecency. There’s things that we could do to address it in a more balanced way."
However, some Democrats criticized Urschel’s stance, arguing that there are far more important things to be focused on.
"It’s extremely disappointing to see our elected officials, who are, let’s face it, vast majority Republican, that instead of focusing on the issues that are hurting people right now in Ohio, and in Greene County, with inflation and good-paying jobs being harder to come by every day, this is what they’re focusing on," Kim McCarthy, chair of the Greene County Democratic Party, told Dayton Daily News.
Reports of such incidents are becoming increasingly common. Last year, a trans-identified serial sex offender made headlines after it was revealed the individual had been walking around naked in front of women and a little girl in the female-only section of Wi Spa in California.
Last Saturday there were protests in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, after another trans-identified male allegedly paraded naked in the female change rooms of a local swimming pool during a time of day that children’s swimming lessons were taking place. When a mother complained, staff informed her that "anyone can use any changeroom based on what gender they identify with."
In August, an 80-year-old woman was banned from a YMCA public pool after raising concerns about a trans-identified male swimming instructor being present in the women’s changing room where young girls were present.
Glines is due to appear in court on Feb 6.
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