Illinois

Sign referencing transgender people defended as 'satire'

A small business owner in Lockport, Illinois, is defending a controversial sign that makes reference to transgender people outside his store after facing backlash from the local community.

The sign, posted outside Richard Tisch’s pawn shop, reads, “Help wanted -- must be female from birth.”

Some Lockport residents blasted the sign on social media, calling it anti-transgender, but the man responsible told WGN-TV it’s not meant to be offensive. 

Tisch said he’s not actually hiring and he’s not even serious.

“The sign is, no question, satire,” said Tisch, the owner of Will County Loan Company.

“People are just too serious. Everybody’s becoming offended in this country today. I mean, the place has gone crazy."

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Tisch says the only group he discriminates against are people who can’t take a joke.

"I have nothing against transgenders, queers, gays, whatever you want to call them," he told Patch.

What he objects to, Tisch said, is his tax dollars paying for the "elected surgery" of a military person's "sex change." 

“I don’t care what anybody does in their private life. Just don’t ask me to pay for it,” he said, according to WGN-TV.

Tisch has put up other eyebrow-raising signs outside his shop, including one that read: “Hillary’s health plan -- free condoms for wild Bill.”

In 2016, Tisch put up another controversial sign -- this one saying, “Outhouse in the rear for transgenders.”

But his most recent message has caused the biggest stir yet.

Many people took it as a show of support for President Trump’s ban on transgender service members in the military -- which Tisch, a 71-year-old retired marine, is in favor of.

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Tisch says most of the calls he’s gotten about the sign have been positive -- noting that support has come from states as far as New York.

"I will not take it down until I'm ready to take it down," he said. "I have a right to say whatever I want to say."

A group of transgender soldiers with a combined 60 years of military service have recently filed suit against the Trump administration over the ban on transgender service. 

A Rand Corporation study estimated the total cost of health care expenditures for transgender soldiers would increase between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually; by comparison, the military spent $84 million on viagra and similar drugs in 2014.