At first, the residents of Borough Green, a small village in Kent, thought the new cul-de-sac’s name was funny. As one gay couple (who didn’t wish to be named) told the Telegraph, there’s a certain “initial humour” in the name “Bangays Way”.
But as time went on, and road signs were erected in the village’s new residential development, the name started to look less like a schoolboy pun, and more like an offensive slur. As the couple, who have lived in the village for almost seven years, told the Telegraph:
We reflected that this street name was actually pretty offensive. Somehow seeing it on the sign made it look even worse. We are pretty sure the sign will be subject to frequent vandalism and possible theft.
So one of the couple took their complaint to the chair of the local parish council, and Tom Tugendhat, their local MP. Tungendhat has since confirmed that he’ll support the attempt to get the name changed: “His complaint is not without merit, so I am perfectly happy to support him.”
The couple and Tugendhat are hoping to change the name to “Frank Bangay Way”, to make its context a little clearer: the name was always intended to be a tribute to Frank Bangay, a local parish councillor, who died in 1999. According to the couple, it was the addition of the extra “s” that made the name offensive (other roads named after local notables haven’t had the same grammatical treatment, they point out). But the parish chair said this would never do, as the name was meant to pay tribute to the entire family.
Bangay’s daughter, Marian Smith, was not amused by the furore:
We are all very proud of our surname and both of my parents were very prominent in the village for many may years. Our surname has been researched back to the 16th Century by a relative. I too feel that if the couple who are so afraid of what people think that they make an issue could well find themselves in litigation
Mr Bangay himself was, of course, not available for comment, but we can only assume he’d be more than a little confused by the whole thing. Let’s hope the village can reach some sort of compromise before the situation turns nasty.
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