When one of the United Kingdom’s most tattooed citizens was denied a passport by the HM Passport Office one might assume that his extensive body art might have been part of the reason and you would be correct, sort of. The man in question goes by the moniker of Body Art — a short version of his full name King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-Ite — and the agency in charge of issuing passports for the U.K. would only issue a passport with Body Art’s birth name.
Body Art was born Mathew Whelan but had his name legally changed in both 2007 and 2009. Other government agencies have used his unusual name on documents including his driver’s license but the Passport Office refuses to print the moniker, according to the Daily Mail.
The Passport Office’s policy on names specifically bans any time a person changes their name to a “string of words or phrases that would not normally be recognized as a name.”
Body Art has accused the passport office of violating his human rights by refusing to issue him the paperwork that would allow him to leave the country.
“This is a breach of my human rights,” Body Art told the Daily Mail. “They want to put my birth name on my passport. But that is not my name anymore.”
It seems curious that some departments of the government would have no problem with the name change while the Passport Office refuses to accept it.
In the end the entire thing seems rather absurd. While King of Ink Land King Body Art the Extreme Ink-Ite might not roll off the tongue quite as easily as Mathew Whelan why does it make any difference what a person chooses to call themselves? His name is not offensive to anyone as far as we can tell — there may be an usurper to the crown of “Ink Land” that we weren’t aware of — so it should be no big deal to have his name on a passport.
The Passport Office may have to user smaller type to fit that behemoth of a name onto the passport but we’re sure they’ll be able to figure that out.