A Lockport pawnshop owner put up a phony help wanted sign at his business to express his anti-transgender views.
"Help wanted: Must be female from birth," reads the sign at Will County Loan Co. on Ninth Street.
Richard Tisch, the owner of the pawnshop, said that the "satirical" sign is meant to prove a point.
"My tax dollars are paying for transgenders to have surgery in the United States military," Tisch said. "My money is paying for an elective surgery that insurance companies don't pay for. Why should our military pay for it? Our tax dollars pay for that. I'm offended by that."
Tisch said he has nothing against transgender people, and that most people don't understand that the sign is satire.
"I don't care what transgenders do," Tisch said. "If you want to have a sex change, that's fine. I don't want to pay for it."
Bill Passaglia, who was walking past the shop, stopped in to say, while laughing, "Just wanted to let you know I was a female from birth."
Afterward, Passaglia explained how he interpreted the sign. From a former employer at a body shop's perspective, he read the sign from an employment angle.
"I think that women, although not absolutely, are more suited for some jobs and men are more suited, although not absolutely, for other jobs," Passaglia said. "I think it's eye-catching."
Will County Loan Co. has gotten many one-star reviews on its Facebook business page since the sign went up, but Tisch said he feels the sign won't affect his business.
"I don't care if they're offended by me doing this," he said. "I have a right to be offended, and I have a right to say anything I like. I'm offended that my tax dollars paid for something that should not be a part of the military."
Dirk Swiderek, owner of Heritage Jewelers next door, rents from Tisch.
"He puts up controversial signs we don't condone," Swiderek said. "We stay neutral. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and be associated with [Tisch's] feelings. We have a whole different business philosophy."
Swiderek said that his business is often blamed for Tisch's actions. People have written negative reviews on Google about his jewelry store regarding the sign, mistakenly associating it with him.
Jessica McKane, 38, said that there are other ways to be satirical that are not at the expense of others.
"It's bullying people who can't defend themselves or control how they're seen in the world," McKane said. "There's so much hate. Why fuel it? In the amount of times I've driven past, he always has something derogatory to say."