USDA Rejects Farmer’s Application Due To His Address Containing An Offensive Word
Sep 14th, 2021
A Georgia cattle farmer was declined by the US Department of Agriculture when he applied for a special interstate transport license just because his address included a “banned” word.
Gene King was devastated after learning the reason for his rejected application. He said, “No one’s got a problem coming to Gay, Georgia. I don’t have a problem living in Gay, Georgia. But the USDA’s got a problem with Gay, Georgia.” But King admitted that this name can be confusing when used in a typical conversation.
“I have gay friends.”
“Here in Gay, Georgia?”
“No, not in Gay, Georgia.”
“You have gay friends outside of Gay.”
“Outside of Gay, yeah.”
Gay, Georgia was founded in 1882. The name was incorporated in 1907 and it was after William F. Gay. About 100 people live in the community about an hour south of Atlanta. Twice a year they organize a popular festival once referred to as the “Gay Fair.” Now it’s known as the Cotton Pickin Festival.
This month, Gene applied for a special ID through the USDA called a ‘Premises Number.’ With this, he would be able to purchase and sell cattle across state lines. After he finished the form, he requested to check on his status. King said, “She said it’s kicking it out saying that’s an offensive word and won’t accept your application.”
And due to this banned word, the USDA emailed back with a workaround that might probably work. They decided to change Gene’s hometown on the application, from “Gay” to “Bay. ” However, the cattle farmer did not agree with this. He said, “And I said no, I don’t want to submit it as Bay, Georgia.
I want to submit it as Gay, Georgia because that’s where I live. And she said do you want a number or not. ”
King got his number, and then the USDA manually changed his city back to Gay.
King said, “I said, ma’am. This is ridiculous.”
Because of this issue, the USDA released a statement:
“The premises identification allocator was originally developed in the early 2000s for the National Animal Identification System, using the technology available at the time. The program was very contentious and IT developers were concerned about the possibility of people attempting to create “bad” premises IDs to prove there was a problem with the program or its IT systems. They created a database of words with bad connotations that would not be allowed in the system.”
The tale of this Gay cattle rancher indeed has a happy ending. Gene got his Premises Number and his out-of-state cows. And no matter what the federal government said, they never took his pride.
He said, “My name is Gene King. I live here in Gay, Ga. That’s G-A-Y, not B-A-Y.”
Gene King is the type of person that everybody should look up to and be respected. There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you are from. No matter how offensive your town name sounds, you should not be ashamed of it. Being ashamed of this is similar to being ashamed of your given name. So be loud and proud, just like Gene King.
What is your opinion about the rules of the USDA? Was it right for them to do a workaround for Gene Kings’ application just because the system will not accept his ‘offensive’ town name?