CHICAGO (CBS) — The owner of a southwest suburban pawn shop said he has taken down a “Help Wanted” sign after being inundated with calls about its controversial caveat – “must be female from birth.”

Richard Tisch, a former Marine, said the sign at his Lockport shop was his way of protesting tax dollars being used to pay for sex re-assignment surgery for transgender members of the military. His argument: It’s elective surgery.

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Thursday morning, Tisch said the sign had been taken down, because the business has been flooded with calls, and his son, who helps at the shop, will be having surgery soon and can’t handle all the calls alone.

Tisch insisted 80 percent of the feedback he’s received has been very supportive, and defended the timing of the sign, amid an increasingly tense political climate after a white supremacist rally turned deadly in Virginia, when a man plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman.

“I think it’s exactly the time,” he said. “We need to address it and stop this political correct, where everbody’s offended.”

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Tisch pointed out it isn’t the first time he’s put up a sign with eye-catching slogan. Past signs have said “all cats and liberals should be spayed,” and “women belong in the kitchen, not the Oval Office.”

Even though he wasn’t really hiring anyone, Tisch defended the sign as “satire” meant to get the attention of potential customers, and insisted he has nothing against transgender people.

Lockport resident Valerie Blanchette, who expressed her disapproval on social media, doesn’t agree the sign is an attempt at humor.

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“This wasn’t just sarcasm. This was rude and derogatory, and it’s unacceptable.”