Bigotry is alive and well in Granger County, Tennesseee.
This week, local Tennessee newspaper Granger Today featured a front page story titled "Amyx Hardware offers original transgender bathroom." At first glance, this might seem to be a sign of open-minded progress regarding the ongoing debate over transgender rights in this country—particularly as it pertains to access to restrooms.
Instead, Amyx Hardware and Roofing Supplies owner Jeff Amyx has gone out of his way to make LGBT hatred the store's defining feature — even building a roadside outhouse out of wooden planks with the words "Transgender Bathroom - Out Of Service Indefinitely" painted across the front.
Amyx told Granger Today that his outhouse was in response to President Obama's recent directive to public schools regarding transgender students and their access to school bathrooms. The call prompted some conservative lawmakers across the country to compare the president to a monarch, and inspired the irate, if somewhat nonsensical, "come and take it" slogan from Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
"We still have freedom of speech in this country" Amyx is quoted by The New Civil Rights Movement as having explained to Granger Today. "Obama is trying to push this down everybody's throat. But I just want the world to know—everybody to know—that you don't have to accept it. They can enforce all the laws they want, but getting us to comply with it is a different story."
He's quoted later as saying "I'm just in compliance with Obama law. He didn't [say] where you had to build it, or if it had to work."
As it turns out, this isn't Amyx's first time using his storefront to promote crass anti-LGBT hate. Last fall he gained noxious notoriety for having posted a "No Gays Allowed" sign on his shop's front door—a move that, no matter how stomach-churningly offensive, was, in fact, perfectly legal. As Vox pointed out at the time, Tennessee doesn't ban discrimination based on gender and sexual identity.
Visitors to Amyx Hardware's website are greeted, first and foremost, with a banner graphic urging them to choose between an American flag and a "Christian" one. The site is largely a platform for select bible quotations and political sermonizing; The only merchandise that appears are baseball caps with the words "no gays allowed" or "choose god or gays" stitched into the back.
"Business has been good," Amyx explained to WATE reporter Brandon Rook about the "no gays allowed" merchandise. "It's brought more people in."
With that attitude (and financial incentive, although he claims to have sold the items at cost) it's safe to say Amyx probably won't back down from his bigotry, no matter how offended the public might get.