A road in the sleepy British of Borough Green is under fire for being “homophobic” because it has been recently christened Bangays Way.
The offending piece of tarmac, kerb, and pavement, which leads to a quiet cup de sac in a new residential development, was named Bangays Way after a popular local historian from the area called Frank Bangay.
Born and bred in Borough Green, near Sevenoaks, Kent, Mr. Bangay was a gas fitter and a keen participant in village life. As well as being a member of various sporting organizations, he served as a school governor, a longstanding parish councillor, and was heavily active in the church.
Mr. Banggay died in December of 1999, and 16 years later, it was decided to name a cul de sac in a new residential development after the popular villager.
The street sign was installed last month in a rather low-key fashion typical of such endeavours. An “S” was added to the surname Bangay so it became Bangays Way and that might have been an end to the matter, except the sign caught the eye of a married gay couple who have lived in the village for almost seven years. As they explained to the Mirror, upon seeing the sign, they immediately saw red.
“My husband and I went to look round the new development. Having got over the initial humour, 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.
“Apparently Frank Bangay was a local historian. Many local roads are named after local families. But only in one instance did an ‘s’ get tacked on the end.”
The anonymous man explained how he voiced his concerns to Borough Green Parish Council Chairman Mike Taylor, explaining how the “homophobic” sign had horrified him and his partner. His complaint was dismissed by Mr. Taylor, who explained that the road name reflected the work the Bangay family had done to support the village over the years, as well as to honour Frank, who has been “a pillar of the community.”
On a mission and determined to right a perceived wrong, the man, who wishes not be named, contacted his newly elected MP Tom Tugendhat.
“I have contacted our new MP Tom Tugendhat who seems to agree with me and is approaching the council to see if it can be changed to Frank Bangay Way, which at least makes it clear it is a name not a statement of opinion.”
Mr. Tugendhat is backing the appeal to turn Bangays Way into Frank Bangay Way and explained, “His complaint is not without merit, so I am perfectly happy to support him.”
Mr. Bangay’s daughter Marian Smith is livid at what has happened and explained how she is very proud of her family name and is quite insulted by recent events. As a consequence, she is now consideringlegal action.
“We are all very proud of our surname and both of my parents were very prominent in the village for many, many years and did so much for the village. 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.”
In the grand scheme of things, perhaps more worrying than the name Bangays Way is the missing apostrophe on the sign itself!
[Image via The Mirror]