The trans woman at the centre of a debacle over visiting a nude spa earlier this year has been charged with indecent exposure.
Several guests at the upmarket Wi Spa in Los Angeles in June created a scene, complaining that a trans woman was present in the women’s section of the nude spa.
They referred to her as a “man” and claimed to have been “traumatised” by seeing her genitals.
The incident led to violent transphobic protests outside the spa amid doubts over whether any harm could have occurred to the guests who complained.
Police initially reported that no evidence reflected a trans person had even been at the spa on the day, leading to suggestions that the complaint had been a hoax.
Last week, Agee Merager, 52, was charged with five felony counts of indecent exposure over the incident, the New York Post has reported.
Merager is currently also facing six other charges of indecent exposure over using a swimming pool changing room in 2018.
She was previously convicted of indecent exposure over incidents in 2002 and 2003, then convicted in 2008 of failing to register as a sex offender.
One of the women who complained about Merager’s presence at Wi Spa later used a press conference to claim that women’s right to public safety was “being violated by men” by allowing trans women access to facilities.
Several have claimed that Merager had an erection in view of children.
Merager has denied the allegations, calling them “garbage and lies” and saying that after disrobing in the locker room, she sat in chest-deep water in a jacuzzi, never either erect or around a child.
She said that the accusations she faces stem from transphobic harassment and reflect a systemic “pattern of abuse”.
Merager, who is legally female, has been misgendered by law enforcement and the mainstream media.
An internal flyer from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that “Merager claims to identify as female so he can access women’s locker rooms and showers”.
Merager is in discussion with California politicians in the hope that laws can be changed to better protect trans people from such harassment over their bodies.
“If you go into an area where you’re expected to be nude, there has to be an indecent exposure exemption,” she said.
“You allow [trans women] to go in [women’s spaces] and then people simply claim indecent exposure and you’re arrested.”