BBC today lists the most ridiculed names in the UK. Among the top 25 it lists Sultana. This is what Leonard Sultana living in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire has to say about his experience of having Sultana as his surname:
“My surname is one that, as a boy, I vowed that I would have changed the second my grandparents died - I didn't want them to know how difficult it was growing up with it. Originating from Malta, where the name is an incredibly common one with no stigma (it doesn't have the feminine edge to Sultan as carried by the name elsewhere in the world), to have it transposed to the UK where jibes and insults are racked up in the multitude meant a trying childhood for my brother and I.
“My brother changed schools on a couple of occasions to avoid bullying. Thankfully, this experience has hardened both his and my attitude to such behaviour and, as a young man, my brother became physically able to dissuade any such assaults. I went the other way and tried to make light of my surname first, undercutting any attacks, with that desire to keep anyone I met comfortable with my name, leading eventually becoming a DJ and entertainer. In my early-thirties, my name became something I was comfortable with - although I felt especially guilty when it was one I then bestowed on my wife, two years ago.
“I have no idea what to say to my children when I eventually have them about their own experiences, I really don't.”
Source: BBC News