Teenager Blaer Sues Iceland To Use Her Name

Teenager Blaer Sues Iceland To Use Her Name

A 15-year-old is suing Iceland for the right to use her own name because it is not on the country's "approved" list.

Blaer Bjarkardottir has been told she cannot officially use her name because it does not appear on the Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 male names and 1,853 female ones.

Icelandic officials insist the list is kept to ensure names fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules and will stop children from being given embarrassing names.

Oddly, the name Elvis is on the list, as it conforms to Icelandic guidelines, but Cara and Carolina have been rejected because the letter C is not part of Iceland's 32-letter alphabet.

If a name is not on the list then parents can apply to a special committee for permission to use it, which means it can then be used on official documents such as school registers and passports.

But in Blaer's case the committee refused, and now she and her mother are to become the first to take their case to court.

Blaer's mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, said she only learned the name was not on the register after the priest who baptised the girl later informed her he had mistakenly allowed it.

She said: "I had no idea that the name wasn't on the list, the famous list of names that you can choose from."

The naming committee panel rejected the teenager’s application on the grounds the word Blaer takes a masculine article, although it was used for a female character in a novel by Iceland's Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness.

So instead Blaer, which means "light breeze" in Icelandic, is officially identified as "Stulka" which means "girl" and is the name carried on her passport and bank details.

A number of countries have "approved" names lists, including Germany and Denmark.

However, in the US and the UK the trend for unusual names is growing, largely driven by celebrities.

The singer Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay-Z called their child Blue Ivy. The actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her rock star husband Chris Martin called their first child Apple.

Agusta Thorbergsdottir, the head of the committee, a panel of three people appointed by the government to a four-year term, said: "The law is pretty straightforward so in many cases it's clearly going to be a yes or a no."

She added: "What one person finds beautiful, another person may find ugly." She used the example of "Satania" as one unacceptable case because it was deemed too close to "Satan".

Blaer and her mother are now hoping that the courts will overturn the committee's decision in a hearing on January 25. If not, they are willing to take it all the way to the country's Supreme Court.

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