Mansfield resident Mark Fassdamon is catching a lot of heat after starting a petition to change the town's historical name to Peoplesfield.

"Mansfield just seems so exclusionary seeing as it isn’t just men that populate this town," Fassdamon wrote in a Facebook group Wednesday evening. "Peoplesfield would have a kinder, more welcoming ring to it and would make everyone feel seen."

Fassdamon's post blew up throughout the evening, amassing more than 300 comments from Mansfield residents who strongly disagreed with the sentiment, specifically citing the name's historical ties that have nothing to do with gender and date back to 1770, when the town was named after William Murray, Earl of Mansfield, from Nottinghamshire, England, five years before Mansfield was officially incorporated in Massachusetts.

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Others questioned Fassdamon's sincerity, wondering if his petition was actually some kind of social media performance art, but Fassdamon was quick to defend his stance in the comments of his post, reiterating his strong support for a more gender-inclusive town name.

"No joke! I’m completely serious," Fassdamon wrote. "I think it would be a lovely change. No pressure to sign[;] I appreciate your response!"

Despite massive backlash on Facebook, Fassdamon was able to gather a bit of support in his fight to change Mansfield into "Peoplesfield." So far, a total of ten people have signed his online petition.

We have reached out to Fassdamon for further comment about his petition, but have not yet heard back.

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