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Icelandic girl Blaer wins battle for right to legally use her name

A 15-year-old Icelandic girl has been granted the right to legally use the name given to her by her mother, despite the opposition of authorities and Iceland’s strict law on names.

Reykjavik District Court ruled yesterday that the name “Blaer” can be used. It means “light breeze”.

The decision overturns an earlier rejection by Icelandic authorities who declared it was not a proper feminine name. Until now, Blaer Bjarkardottir had been identified simply as “Girl” in communications with officials.

“I’m very happy,” she said. “I’m glad this is over. Now I expect I’ll have to get new identity papers. Finally I’ll have the name Blaer in my passport.”

Like a handful of other countries, including Germany and Denmark, Iceland has official rules about what a baby can be named. Names are supposed to fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules – choices like Caroline and Christine are not allowed because the letter “c” is not part of Iceland’s alphabet.

Blaer’s mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, had fought for the right for the name to be recognised. The court ruling means that other girls will be also allowed to use the name in Iceland.

In an interview earlier this year, Ms Eidsdottir said she did not know the name “Blaer” was not on the list of accepted female names when she gave it to her daughter. The name was rejected because the panel viewed it as a masculine name that was inappropriate for a girl.

The court found that the name could be used by both males and females and that Blaer had a right to her own name under Iceland’s constitution and Europe’s human rights conventions. It rejected the government’s argument that her request should be denied to protect the Icelandic language.

 
 
 

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