• Thu, Jan 3 2013

15-Year-Old Girl Won’t Let Iceland Take Away Her ‘Boy’ Name In Baby Name Fiasco

shutterstock_51629110Fun fact for all you baby name fanatics out there: some countries like Germany and Denmark have “official rules” regarding what your baby can be named. Meaning that the equivalent of Yoonique or what have you would probably not fly with the Danish government — and apparently also Iceland, where a 15-year-old girl is fighting for the name that her mother gave her.

Associated Press reports that the teenager, who is named Blaer, which means “light breeze” in Icelandic, is pushing back on the government’s insistence that she change her name — and with a lawsuit. The kid and her mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, are reportedly the first to challenge the names committee on a decision.

Iceland has a Personal Names Register, which includes 1,712 male names and 1,853 female names that reflect pronunciation rules and coincide with Icelandic grammar (officials reportedly also prioritize ”protect[ing] children from embarrassment”). Mothers and fathers can pluck from those 3,565 names or they can apply to a special committee that can vote their kid’s name up or down.

This is where Blaer and her mother go into a misunderstanding with their baby naming government. It was only after Blaer’s baptism that her mother learned that her child’s name wasn’t on the government-sanctioned register. The priest had allowed the naming by mistake.

Bjork maintains that she knew of another Blaer whose name was accepted in 1973. But the names committee told her that they’ll be denying her child’s name because it “takes a masculine article.”

This is a huge headache for teen Blaer given that she is female and is thus on all her official documents. Nevertheless, she’s had to explain again and again at the bank, when she renews her passport, that yes her name has a masculine article but she is actually a girl.

Mama Bjork is prepared to take her baby’s case all the way to the country’s Supreme Court if she has to:

“So many strange names have been allowed, which makes this even more frustrating because Blaer is a perfectly Icelandic name,” Eidsdottir said. “It seems like a basic human right to be able to name your child what you want, especially if it doesn’t harm your child in any way.”

“And my daughter loves her name,” she added.

Mother-daughter duo take Icelandic Supreme Court in baby naming fiasco? I’d watch the documentary. Or the made for TV movie.

(photo: Intrepix / Shutterstock)

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  • salemthegoddess

    Two things: 1. I have the masculine form for my name but only Middle Easterners recognize this. 2. As an American living abroad, explaining the concept of freedom (to exist!) to Europeans is nearly impossible.

  • Steph

    I love Iceland, but this is terrible. Why do they care if a girl has a “boy’s” name? What happened to gender neutral?

    • Kitiem3000

      Feel free to name your daughter Jake or something if you wish, but I doubt she will thank you for it. I’m glad our government restricts names at least a bit. We don’t have a list of approved names, but rather a list of forbidden names. Keeps people from naming their kids Adolf.