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Girl Sues Iceland for Right to Keep Her Name

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Icelanders can be a pretty no-nonsense bunch. For instance, if you cause a ruckus on an airplane, they may strap you to a chair and duct tape your mouth. And if you want to name your baby something that doesn't appear on a government-approved list, well, then you're really out of luck!

But one 15-year-old girl whose mother named her Blaer isn’t taking this sitting down. She is suing Iceland for the right to legally use the name.

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Iceland's Personal Names Register, a list of 1,712 boy and 1,853 girl names, is meant to protect children from embarrassment and to uphold the country’s official grammar and pronunciation rules. The problem with "Blaer"? The word, which means "light breeze" in Icelandic, takes a masculine article.  

So Blaer Bjarkardottir is currently identified as “Stulka,” Icelandic for “girl,” on all her official documents. Her mother says that she only learned the name wasn’t permissible after a priest who had baptized the child later informed her he had made a mistake. Naming a child Blaer in Iceland is not without precedent. There was a Blaer whose name was accepted in 1973. But Bjarkardottir was denied a similar special allowance.

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"So many strange names have been allowed, which makes this even more frustrating because Blaer is a perfectly Icelandic name," Bjarkardottir's mother 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."

But most importantly? "My daughter loves her name," she said.

Do you think there should be rules for naming a baby? Let us know in the comments.