A transgender woman has been charged with public indecency for using the women’s changing facilities at a local YMCA branch in Xenia, Ohio.
Rachel Glines, of Fairborn, was charged with three counts of public indecency for three separate incidents that allegedly happened from November 2021 to November 2022.
All three charges are fourth-degree misdemeanors, which could carry a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a fine for each charge.
Glines was arraigned in December of last year, pleading not guilty to the charges against her.
Last week, Glines’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the third count — in which no date has been provided for when the alleged incident occurred — arguing that the vagueness of the accusation against her violates her right to due process.
The state responded, arguing that the lack of an exact date is not a “material detriment” to the case against her,” according to the Dayton Daily News.
Glines had been scheduled to appear for trial on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at which point Xenia Municipal Court Judge David McNamee was expected to resolve the issue of whether the third charge against her would be dropped. But the trial has since been postponed, with no makeup date scheduled.
However, court records indicate that the parties took part in a pre-trial hearing held by telephone on Thursday.
According to a criminal complaint filed against Glines, Xenia police claimed to have received “several complaints of a naked man in the females’ locker room” of the YMCA, reports Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT.
A woman who was at the YMCA with her two teenage daughters, aged 13 and 16, claimed she saw a “completely naked man” who was “facing away from his locker” and “completely exposed to the rest of the locker area,” according to the police report.
The woman claimed to have confronted the person she saw, asking them if they were a woman, to which they replied affirmatively.
Upset and distressed, the woman complained to staff, but was reportedly told by the director of the YMCA that the facility couldn’t keep men out of the women’s locker room.
According to Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO, Xenia Council President Will Urschel, in remarks that were videotaped and uploaded to YouTube and Facebook, told a Jan. 24 meeting of the Greene County Tea Party that if the city is able to successfully prosecute the person involved, the city may also bring legal action against the YMCA for aiding and abetting the alleged crime.
The city released a statement responding to that video on Tuesday, Feb. 6 — the day on which Glines was expected to appear in court — saying that the city’s law department has no plan or intention of bringing charges against the YMCA.
“The decision to file charges was based on the facts presented to the Law Department by the Xenia Police Division and the language of state statute,” the statement reads.
Urschel’s comments in the video circulating on social media were slammed by local Democrats.
“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, said in a statement.
Urschel told WCPO that the charges against Glines are important because they speak to the need to enforce public indecency laws, regardless of gender.
He added that the “murkiness” of Ohio’s nondiscrimination laws means that civil rights laws and public indecency laws are in conflict, and that Xenia could exercise home rule to define “sex” inside city limits as it pertains to legal matters.
“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.”
There is currently no state law in Ohio protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination in public accommodations, such as locker rooms, although some cities throughout the state have adopted their own individual ordinances providing such protections.
The YMCA of Greater Dayton told the news station that state nondiscrimination laws require the YMCA to allow transgender individuals to use facilities matching their gender identity, but that patrons must adhere to guidelines asking them to “remain properly covered while in public areas of the locker room.”
The organization also released a written statement in response.
“The Greater Dayton YMCA adheres to Ohio and Federal laws and anti-discrimination laws which allow all members access to its facilities and programs, regardless of religion, national origin, race, color, sex, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” the statement reads.
“In addition, the Greater Dayton YMCA has a strong record of both protecting personal privacy and modesty in our facilities which are both safe and accommodating while serving and including all members of the community equally.
“Given our strong record, our adherence to the law, our dedication to inclusiveness, and our environment designed to protect personal privacy for all, we will not alter our current policies. Let it be known that, under no circumstances will we investigate an individual’s birth gender identity and then, assign individuals to locker rooms. That would be counter to the law, counter to respect for all people, and it is not who or what we are as an organization.”
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