Blaer, which means “light breeze” in Icelandic, sounds a perfectly nice name for a young girl.
The Iceland government takes a different view. Blaer is not on it’s approved list of names for girls on the Personal Names Register. So, as most of the world knows by now, the 15-year-old girl is suing the state for the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother.
We’ve been down this naming path before. It may seem high-handed state interference into private and very personal matters such as an individual’s name, but the baby naming laws are there for what the Icelandic authorities see as good reason: to protect children from naming abuse.
Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark and China also have laws designed to shield the innocent from the wilder naming fantasies of their parents.
For example, the Danish authorities have stepped in to block parents trying to name their children, variously, Anus, Pluto and Monkey.
The Swedes have rejected “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb111163 (pronounced Albin, naturally).
It was submitted by a child’s parents in protest of the naming law, and was duly dismissed. The parents later submitted “A” (also pronounced Albin) as the child’s name. It, too, was rejected.
Metallica, Superman, Veranda and Elvis have also been rejected. Ikea has been nixed but Lego is OK, for some reason, as is Google for a middle name.
Blaer, or whatever, should at least be grateful for her mother’s good taste, and also draw encouragement from the example Tequila, an 8th grade Swedish girl who triumphed over the system.
The Swedish authorities refused to recognize her name. Her family took the case all the way to the Supreme Administrative Court, which also rejected it.
She took the name Quila instead but was always Tequila to her friends and family.
As she was never baptized as a child, Quila decided to take another shot at getting the Tax Agency, the authority that administers the naming law, to approve her name. She sent her own personal plea explaining how she has grown into the name and that she wanted it to be official before her baptism.
They relented. She is now officially Tequila. The breeze is at your back Blaer. Don’t give up.