CHICAGO — An eight-year-old girl was recently choked unconscious by an adult male who approached her in the women’s restroom of of a Chicago restaurant as city officials continue their push for restroom accommodations according to gender identity.
According to reports, the incident occurred last Saturday at Jason’s Deli in the South Loop of the city. The girl and her mother both used the restroom, which has separated stalls.
Reese Hartstirn, 33, is accused of following the women into the restroom and then choking the little girl until she passed out. As the child’s mother heard her daughter scream, she quickly moved to rescue the girl as Hartstirn was carrying her into a stall, but he pushed the woman out of the way.
Others in the restaurant held the man until police arrived. Hartstirn is charged with aggravated kidnapping of a child, aggravated battery of a child and battery causing bodily harm. He is also facing a charge of aggravated assault of a peace officer after he swung at an officer in being booked.
Hartstirn is being held in the Cook County jail without bail and will appear in court on Monday.
The girl was transported to Comer Children’s Hospital for treatment. Her present condition is unknown.
“This is at a restaurant,” customer Crystal Anderson told WLS-TV. “You want your kid to be able to go to a bathroom in a restaurant and feel safe and not be scared … and not worry about someone trying to abduct your kid.”
Some have expressed concern about the incident in light of the national push to permit males who identify as females in women’s restrooms as they state that such allowances increase the chances for men who aren’t “transgender” to enter without question.
Earlier this month, even before the Obama administration issued directives stating that schools must accommodate students’ “internal sense of gender,” the Chicago school district announced that it would allow male students who identify as female and vice versa to use the restroom and locker room that correlates with their “gender identity.”
“Students shall have access to the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity consistently asserted at school,” it wrote. “Supports and accommodations should also be provided to gender non-binary students and students questioning their gender identity, regardless of whether the student is consistently asserting at school.”
Gender non-binary refers to students who do not believe they fit into the category of either male or female, and blend both the masculine and feminine in their appearance. In such cases, students are allowed to use the restroom and locker room of their preference.
The Chicago Commission on Human Relations also outlines that it may be a violation of the city’s human rights ordinance “[f]or a business to deny a customer access to a restroom or similar private facility designated for the gender shown on the person’s official identification—such as a driver’s license, state identification card or passport.”
Violators may be fined up to $500 and may be subject to damages and attorney’s fees.