From Iceland — Naming Committee Approves New Batch Of Names, No Gender Restrictions Applied

Naming Committee Approves New Batch Of Names, No Gender Restrictions Applied

Published January 15, 2021

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Iceland’s Naming Committee—which judges, and then accepts or rejects new names in the Icelandic lexicon—has approved and denied another round of submitted names, Fréttablaðið reports. This new round is unique in Icelandic history, as there are no legal restrictions regarding what names can and cannot be applied to which gender. In fact, two of the names are expressly genderless—even though in the legal sense, all names are without gender.

One of the many provisions put in place by the 2019 gender determination law was to remove gender restrictions from Icelandic names. This effectively allows anyone, regardless of gender, to carry whatever Icelandic name that the committee has or will approve, which in turn renders all names gender-free.

That said, some names are expressly without gender in the linguistic as well as the legal sense. For example, the committee approved the names Regn and Frost, which are both linguistically gender neutral. Regn Sólmundur Evudóttir, who called the name’s approval “a great victory to finally be named in the Registry what I’m actually named”, is now the first person to bear this name.

Even without gender considerations, the Naming Committee still judges names based on other criteria, such as the name’s harmony with Icelandic grammar, and its historical precedence.

Amongst the names the committee approved are Melasól, Lárenzína, Sófía, Ivý, Mylla, Tíberíus, Frederik, Emanuel, Sotti, Nathaníel, Nikolaj, Theó, Theodor, Íkarus, Eydór and Sólheiður, as well as the matronym Evudóttir. Meanwhile, the committee rejected Toby, Aleksandra, Lilith, Dania, Zebastian, Regin, Odin, Lord, Kain and Amando.

The Naming Committee is a controversial institution amongst Icelanders, and even conservative Icelanders have argued in favour of doing away with it altogether. That may have happened in 2020, but it quickly fell down the list of priorities once the pandemic struck.

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