Semiotics and semolina – Frank Bangay – just a name

It seems an article has appeared online relating to a certain street. I have sent the following to the newspaper, exactly as set out here:

Hello Louise,

I understand from Mike Taylor that a matter concerning a street in Borough Green has surfaced. For some reason a villager has expressed the view that the name Bangays Way may be taken as homophobic. While he may perceive things in this way, this seems perhaps overly sensitive and I would have faith in the people of Borough Green to see it as it is meant, simply a tribute to a man who dedicated his life to the area, without any other overtones.

In addition to being Chair of the Parish Council for many years and vice-chair at other times, my late Father helped to energise the village in the post-war period and with many others helped it to acquire the name of “DIY village”. He fought in the war and helped to defeat those who sought to silence others’ views and divergence, gave of his time against those who sent Jews, dissidents, Communists, Gypsies and homosexuals to the death chamber. He was an advocate of freedom of speech.

I do not wish for the name of Bangay to be slurred, nor for what strikes me as petty playground bullying, literally name calling, to go unchecked.  I am pretty sure that the LGBT community would also consider that this grievance was rather poorly based. There are many issues surrounding gay rights which may be worthy of our time: simply misreading street signs in a wilful manner is unlikely to promote a positive response to more deserving matters. Sadly I see Mr. Tucker-Bell’s position as little better than the homophobia which he claims to decry. It is insensitive. If he had understood – which he claims to – that this is a family name, he might have appreciated the upset and offense which he has triggered.  As public servants all four of Frank’s children have worked with and contributed to policies on diversity, in an even handed and professional manner. In my employment I have actively promoted such policy. It therefore seems doubly ironic that this should surface as an issue in this fashion.

If this matter is resolved by changing the street name to Frank Bangay Way I trust that this will keep all parties happy. I hope that all can move on having learned from the experience, mindful of the view that if living in a community, agreement is reached by thoughtful discussion and reflection, endeavouring to see all points of view in a sympathetic way.

Kind regards,

Ian Bangay



One response to “Semiotics and semolina – Frank Bangay – just a name

  1. Brian Whiston

    Hello Ian
    Having been born in the age of innocence, I was appalled that your family name should have been brought into disrepute. When I saw this sign I was immediately reminded of your father. I am sorry but only people of a certain persuasion could read something into this!

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