Rally to protest CDC "banned" words set for Thursday

Dec 20, 2017

A rally will be held Thursday night in Rochester after the Trump administration asked the CDC to refrain from using certain words in their upcoming budget.

The Centers for Disease Control were reportedly advised to avoid the use of seven words: transgender, science-based, evidence-based, diversity, vulnerable, fetus, and entitlement in forthcoming budget documents.

According to NPR, The Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC, has denied the report, calling it a "complete mischaracterization" of conversations about the annual budget. The CDC says that the words are not banned and that the organization remains "committed to our public health mission as a science-and evidence-based institution."

Rowan Collins, communications manager for the Out Alliance who is supporting the rally, says the problem is that if certain words can’t be used, then funding won’t go towards those issues.

He says for many in the LGBTQ+ community, this is all too familiar.

"I know a lot of folks in our community who lived and worked through the AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s recognize that this sounds really familiar. That federal agencies didn’t say the word gay or AIDS or HIV for too many years in the 80s. President Reagan didn’t even say the word out loud until close to ‘86 or ‘87."

But Collins also recognizes that this is a widespread issue, concerning many different communities as well.

"We're seeing that the words diversity and vulnerable can’t be used, so that means that our federal agencies aren’t looking at communities that are in rural or tribal areas, they’re not looking at low income folks who would be considered to be those vulnerable and diverse populations."

Collins went on to say language is important not only in how we express ourselves but how we describe our needs.

"To have that kind of ignored, or very purposefully avoided by our federal government is not only just painful on a personal level, but really dangerous. If we are saying we can’t say transgender in budget documents, then we're not funding studies on the trans community and their health disparities."

The rally will be held in front of the Federal Building on State Street at 8pm.