Recently a UCLA student decided to have his name changed on his school I.D. to take a fun poke at his own disability. However, he has come under fire from his transgender “peers” over what they are calling “abuse of the school’s new name-change policy.” The new name he chose for his student ID? “Lightning Kachow-McQ.”
Tyler Roope is now dealing with some serious backlash on social media after he posted photos of his new student identification card.
“Since July, students have been able to use their preferred names on their BruinCards,” a post from the Daily Bruin‘s Instagram page reads. “Returning students can update their BruinCards by registering their preferred name through MyUCLA and paying a $5 fee for a replacement card. Andy Talajkowski said they feel more validated and acknowledged after changing their name on their new BruinCard. ”
Wanting to test the boundaries of the new name-change system, as many kids with a sense of humor would, Roope tweeted, “The boundaries had to be tested and I can’t believe this actually worked,” he wrote in his tweet. “My professors now legally have to call me this.”
The boundaries had to be tested and I can't believe this actually worked. My professors now legally have to call me this.
Kachow boys pic.twitter.com/7TMQOwGJdW
— Tyler Roope (@tylerroope) October 26, 2017
Sadly many students immediately condemned his decision and began the typical attacks via social media.
hey tyler!!! you remember when i was in the same BSA troop as you? i'm a trans person and this kind of "joke" affects me. someone real.
— i have a crush on you (@punballmachine) October 28, 2017
Abusing a system intended for international students and trans/nb students is wrong. This isn't funny.
— lynn @ blizzcon (@palancedin) October 27, 2017
This is why trans folk, non binary folk, and international students have such a hard time being recognized by their real or chosen name. https://t.co/2hhb10j5Qy
— Mimi (@_aemetu) October 26, 2017
Roope fired back at one critic with a photo of himself in his wheelchair, captioned only with the word, “kachow.” In another response, he wrote, “I did this because honestly lightning McQueen is red with 4 tires and so am I.”
— Tyler Roope (@tylerroope) October 27, 2017
Roope did eventually post an apology, kind of.
“I would like to apologize if this offended you or anyone for that matter,” he wrote. “However, I can assure you this isn’t at the expense of anyone.”
Hi! I would like to apologize if this offended you or anyone for that matter. However, I can assure you this isn't at the expense of anyone
— Tyler Roope (@tylerroope) October 28, 2017
The University of California in Los Angeles is attempting to be more progressive by allowing students to request their preferred names on their student I.D.’s, which would lead many to assume that if a disabled boy in a wheelchair wants to be identified as a name other than his own, then he should have that right just as anyone else would.
The policies is intended to allow “non binary” individuals to effortlessly change their preferred names to any names they choose to be recognized by in the case that they identify as something other than what they were born with. Teachers and professors are absolutely expected to only refer to these students by whichever names they have chosen for themselves.
Tyler Roope, is a disabled wheelchair-bound student, so if he would like to be refered to as “Lightning-Kachow-McQ” – a reference to a character from the movie “Cars”, named “Lightening Mcqueen” whose favorite catchphrase is “Kachow”, then he should be accepted and refered to as such.
Tyler was basically making a self deprecating joke about his disability. “I did this because honestly lightning McQueen is red with 4 tires and so am I. It makes me feel good” he explained later.
Going by the standard statements by all groups that want specific abilities to be addressed and recognized as what they choose and not what they were born as, it would seem completely acceptable and well within Roope’s rights to self-identify and his preferred name. If it makes him feel good about himself, and allows for his disability to be taken a bit easier than why should others have a right to cause him despair over his choice?
Is Roope overstepping the boundaries of propriety, or is he well within his rights to be asking for the same respect and treatment that other people are demanding of society as a whole? It seems to be a borderline case of bigotry on the part of the trans community for their collective assumption that he changed his name with the intent to somehow insult or violate anyone’s rights or self-identifying abilities.
If a boy in a wheelchair feels better about himself by being called “Lightning-Kachow-McQ” then should he not by all means be provided with the same opportunity for happiness in whatever it is he chooses to identify as? After all that is how it appears to be working for anyone who wants to self-identify based on gender, so why is it any different for this young man?
I say let the boy be whatever makes him happy!