An outcry over signs in a Georgia convenience store saying that only "fags" wear baggy pants prompted the manager who made them to remove them amid some clumsy attempts at damage control.
Anil Patel's father removed the signs on Thursday after WSB first aired a story about them. But Patel, reached by phone, promised to repost them on Friday. After national attention, he backed down, according to LaGrange News.
But PCA Store Manager, Anil Patel, said he's not against the homosexual community.
“That's their personal life,” he said. ” But if you're coming to my store, pull your pants up. It's inappropriate. It's not just gay people, it's for anybody who comes in my store. Have some respect. I always treat my customers courteously, respectfully, and with love.”
The controversial signs were not posted on Friday afternoon. Patel said his dad took them down because of the unwanted attention they were bringing to the store. But Patel said he sees nothing wrong with the sign, or the way it was worded.
“Gay is not a color, a race, a religion. It's who you are. I'm not against it,” said Patel. “I'm not saying 'don't come into the store. I'll still serve you.' But when I put that sign up, people had a choice. Either don't come in to the store, or pull your pants up.”
The signs and the slur drew a surprising mix of reactions from gay residents in the southwest Georgia town.
The store manager compared people who wear baggy pants to a negative name for people who are homosexual. It insinuates that if you wear baggy pants, you are gay. Simpson, who is homosexual, was offended when she saw it and immediately confronted the store manager.
“I said, 'Why do you have this in your store? Do you not realize it's a homosexual slur?' I've never encountered anything like that,” Simpson said.
What made matters worse, Simpson said, the three children whom she is helping to raise with her partner, also saw the signs inside the store.
“How do you explain that?” she asked. ” I couldn't believe it. I was angry, enraged, and sad. It's emotional and I don't understand it. It's prejudice.”
But lesbian Kerrie Williams, a clerk at the store, told WSB she's not bothered by the signs.
“It doesn’t bother me, not a bit. I have a girlfriend and I am gay,” said Kerrie Williams, a clerk at the store.