Farmer Gene King just wanted to buy some cattle from outside Georgia and ship them to his ranch. In Gay, Ga. And that set off an embarrassing saga for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The federal agency rejected King's application for the special interstate transport license. Why? His address – in Gay, Ga., according to Fox 5. The town of less than 100 people sits in Meriwether County about 60 miles south of Atlanta on Highway 85.
She said it's kicking it out saying that's an offensive word and won't accept your application,” King said.
What could be so offensive? The holdup, according to a government email about Gene's application: “city contains a banned word.”
In 2004, the USDA developed a list of banned words to prevent “gay” shenanigans and “bad connotations” on license applications. The feds wouldn't provide the full list to Fox 5, but it most certainly includes “gay.”
So the USDA proposed a workaround to King. Change his city from Gay to Bay on the application and all would proceed smoothly, according to Fox 5. But King bucked the suggestion.
“And I said no, I don't want to submit it as Bay, Georgia,” King said he told the government worker over the phone. “I want to submit it as Gay, Georgia because that's where I live. And she said do you want a number or not?” He got his number, and then the USDA manually changed his city back to Gay. “I said ma'am. This is ridiculous.”
The USDA tells Fox 5 that a future upgrade will rid its computer systems of the notion that “gay” is bad.
It's not just the feds that have problems with “gay.” The Georgia Department of Driver Services faced a federal lawsuit in 2013 when Atlanta hair stylist Cyrus Gilbert discovered that the agency banned some 90 gay terms from appearing on vanity license plates. The lawsuit prompted state officials to revise their list of naughty words.