Gender Neutral Names

So, I've been tossing around the idea of making this post for a while, and then tonight I ran across a few names while looking through forum posts.

One thing I did, both times I was pregnant, was have a boy list, a girl list, and an intersex list -- we'd decided that if we had an intersexed baby, we would not have any non-medically-necessary surgery, and we'd give the baby a gender-neutral name.  At the time, I couldn't come up with a lot of neutral names that I liked, and so we just had "Alex".  As time goes by, I've started collecting names that strike me as gender-neutral, whether I like them or not.  

Here are the top names *I* think of, when I think of gender-neutral names:

Alex 

Jordan

Morgan

Sasha (I think this is more common for girls in English, and usually a nickname rather than a legal name for both men & women)

Blair (more common for girls, but used by boys too)

Lee (this is a family name for us, male on one side, female on the other; the male Lee feels strongly that it is a "girl" name, though)

Reese

Rory (traditionally a boy name, but sometimes used for girls as a legal name or nickname)

Casey

River (I know more men with this name than women, but not enough for it to read one way or the other to me)

Taylor

http://www.babynames1000.com/gender-neutral/ has a list of the most gender-neutral names in the US 2012 data, some of which don't mentally translate as gender-neutral to me at ALL.

If we decide to have another baby, anyway, I think I'll have Alex on the list...and maybe Taylor and Casey.  I would probably put Morgan on it -- a longtime favorite -- but it's our niece's name. 

Replies

1
By PJ
January 28, 2014 1:16 AM

Here are some gender neutral names I've heard in real life:

Sage

Avery

Ryan ( I don't really think of this one as neutral but I have met a baby girl named Ryan)

Sparrow ( I met a girl with this name and it's also the name of a male celebrity baby.)

I think a lot of nature names could go either way, if they're not flower names.

Skye, Cloud, etc. 

2
January 28, 2014 1:53 AM

an intersex name list is actually a really good idea I have never heard of.

Off the top if my head I would have said Alex, Taylor, Jordan, Riley, Emerson, Cameron, Peyton, Bailey, Cory, Lane, & Shay.

Then there are others that sound unisex but since they are spelled differently for boys vs. girls I dont count those (Aaron/Erin for example).

3
January 28, 2014 1:52 PM

I'm one of those people who prefer traditionally masculine names to stay on boys (Taylor, Morgan, and Jordan will always be masculine to me, no matter how many girls receive the name), so there are very few names I consider to be truly unisex or gender neutral. Among them are:

Alex (I know it is sometimes given as a full name for boys, but on girls I think it works better as a nickname)

Quinn (traditionally a boy's name, but it doesn't sound so utterly masculine that its unthinkable on girls)

Dakota

Reese (same as Quinn)

Blair(e)

Lee

Lou (I know most people consider it masculine, but I think it would be a cute nickname for Louise/Louisa)

There are also those names that are typically masculine in one culture and typically feminine in another, like Andrea and Jan

4
January 28, 2014 3:19 PM

For those who remember the old sketches on Saturday Night Live, there is Pat.

5
January 28, 2014 5:57 PM

Pat is one I would've considered except that "Patricia" is a family name for us. 

6
January 29, 2014 2:12 PM

Oh, the memories! We used to have a neighbor that looked just like Julia Sweeney did in those sketches. So much so, that we had trouble remembering to call her by her name (Brenda). I found myself starting to call her 'Pat' on numerous occasions. How embarrassing!

7
By EVie
January 28, 2014 6:44 PM

I thought about coming up with an intersex list, too, but my husband and I had such a hard time just agreeing on male and female names that it seemed like more trouble than it was worth, given the odds of needing it. 

Aubrey is one that has gone back and forth—name purists usually consider it masculine, but it has legitimate history as a feminine name.

Emmett was originally a feminine diminutive of Emma, though now it's mostly masculine. I've seen Averill listed as both masculine and feminine, though I usually think of it as feminine (and it's derived from an Old English feminine name, Eoforhild). Julian also has history as a feminine name (there is a recent thread somewhere where we were discussing it).

Callisto can be masculine or feminine depending on the derivation—the original Greek Kallisto is feminine, but it can also be an Italianization of the Latin masculine name Callixtus.

Bela is masculine in Hungarian, but feminine in Czech. Nika can be a short form of Veronika or of the Russian masculine Nikita. There are definitely more of these trans-language androgynous names, though I'm blanking on others. 

Lots of modern Hebrew names are truly androgynous—Lior and Tal come to mind.

One of my top choices for an intersex name probably would have been Arden. Really, I think that surnames on girls are so mainstream these days that you'd be pretty safe with any surname choice that would work on a boy, especially the ones that have girly nicknames (Emerson, Addison, etc.) But then, I'm not a total purist when it comes to surnames—while they're not usually my style, I think girls have just as much right to them as boys.

8
January 28, 2014 6:49 PM

There are a lot of French names that are unisex like Dominique, Camille, and Patrice. Also the occasional Italian name like Andrea. Many Modern Israeli names are indeed deliberately unisex. One older name that is used for both males and females is Ariel.

9
By EVie
January 29, 2014 11:13 AM

Oh yes, the Italian names—Luca and Nicola as well. 

10
January 28, 2014 10:40 PM

Robin, Shannon, Casey, Kelly, and Lee are the ones I think of first, since I know at least one person of each sex with each of those names. We've seen Harper proposed for both sexes on this board, and Rowan. Leslie/Lesley. Lots of nicknames, like Terry, Chris, and Sam (and Alex and Lou). Along with Erin/Aaron, there's Nicky/Nicki, Frances/Francis and Bobby/Bobby, Caroll/Carol, Carrie/Cary.

11
January 28, 2014 10:44 PM

Adding to this, there's also Billy/Billie. 

12
January 29, 2014 12:13 AM

I would note that Erin and Aaron only sound the same to those who have the Mary/merry/marry merger.  To those who don't these two names are definitely distinct.

13
October 8, 2014 11:09 PM

My husband & I were just having a conversation about this recently. 

I grew up in an area where Erin & Aaron are pronounced identically by local folks, but we can all HEAR the "correct", non-identical pronunciation just fine.  So an Aaron *from* here says his own name the same as an Erin, but may say his friend Aaron-from-elsewhere's name with the distinct pronunciation.

14
January 29, 2014 12:24 AM

Oh, and Marion.

15
January 29, 2014 2:14 PM

I know a couple named Cary and Carrie. Friends call them by their names to their faces but Ms. Carrie and Mr. Cary when talking about them to keep them straight. Miss Carrie is really not a good name (say it aloud).

16
By mk
January 29, 2014 2:37 PM

Also Kerry, Jamie, and Lauren. I've known men and women these names.

I agree with Erin and Aaron not being the same name, nor pronounced the same in certain areas.  Though I once went out with a guy named Erin, so maybe it is considered gender-neutral somewhere?

 

17
January 29, 2014 6:23 PM

The males I knew spelled it Loren, not Lauren, although the pronunciation was identical.

18
By mk
January 30, 2014 12:46 AM

The one man I know with this name spells it Lauren, which is very confusing to me since he also happens to have the same last name as a female Lauren I know.

19
January 31, 2014 12:31 PM

Dakota would be my top option. It feels pretty manly to me but I've run into a number of girl Dakotas so my mind can wrap around it for a girl.  I also really like Drew for a boy or a girl.  In terms of my other kids names the only name that would work is Marion.

20
October 8, 2014 10:35 PM

I may have missed it being being mentioned, but my first choice would be Christian - I like it especially for a girl now. We've known a couple of female Christians and they're lovely ;) 

Also, Jordan is really nice for both. 

Also in Northern Ohio, we met a few female Bradleys ... it was so peculiar at first, but it really grew on me! ;) 

I also love Quinn.  A lot. 

And last but not least, our oldest daughter is naming her firstborn child Lennon ~ regardless. 

21
October 8, 2014 10:57 PM

Addison

Adrian(ne)

Avery

Alex

Blair(e)

Bailey

Cameron

Carey

Casey

Carmen

Carson (unusal but pretty on a female)

Corey

Charlie

Datoka

Devon

Drew

Elliott/Eliot/Eliott/Elliot

Francis

Finlay/Finley

Glen

Hadley

Hayden

Harper

Harley

Hunter

Jaden/Jadyn/Jayden

Jordan/Jordyn

Jamie/Jayme

Jessie/Jesse

Julian/Julien

Kendall

Kennedy

Kimberly

Kyle

Lee

Logan

Leslie

Mackenzie/Mackynzie

Morgan

Micah

Marley

Noel/Noelle

Orion

Payton/Peyton

Quinn

Reagan/Regan

Reese/Rhys

Riley/Raleigh

Ryan/Ryann

Rowan

Sage

Skye

Sydney/Sidony

Skylar

Scout

Taylor

Toni/Tony

Tracy/Tracey

Teagen

Hope this helps!!

 

 

22
March 7, 2016 10:56 PM

I would choos Avery, Reece, Hadley, or Quinn.  I already have an Avery (boy), so I couldn't pick that one now, but that would have been my top choice before I had my Avery. 

23
July 4, 2017 4:09 PM

My parents have very gender specific names which of course people would think they would give us gender specific names but they're last two choices for me and my younger sister were all gender neutral 

I am named Paige (I know girls and boys with this name) I could've been called Jordon which is used for both genders aswell 

my little sister is names taylor ( again girls and boys are known) and she coulve been called jay 

without realising it our parents gave us the choice to be who we wanted to be which is the greatest blessing of all, and to be who we wanted to be we didn't need to change our names 

24
July 4, 2017 10:41 PM

Avery, Aidan, Alexi, Ari, Ash, Ashton, Adrian, Addison, Arlo, August, Blake, Bailey, Brenn, Cameron, Campbell, Casey, Cadence, Chandler, Charlie, Christian, Channing, Corey, Dylan, Darcy, Drew, Devin, Emerson, Ellis, Emery, Elliot, Finn, Finley, Frankie, Frances, Grey/Gray, Greer, Hollis, Hunter, Hayden, Harley, Jordan, Jaime, Jayden, Justice, Jan,  Jessie, Kai, Kelly, Kendall, Laikyn, Loren, Lane, Lou, Lee, Morgan, Mickey, Misha, Peyton, Paris, Parker, Phoenix, Quinn, Quincy, Ripley, Reece/Rhys, Ryan/Rian, Ramsey, Rowan, Riley, Robin, Remi, River, Shea/Shay, Sam, Sage, Skyler, Sutton, Shane, Shawn, Sawyer, Spencer, Stevie, Tristan, Tyler, Taylor, Wren, Wynn, Whitney

25
July 15, 2017 5:30 AM

Riley  Avery  Ashley Cody

Bailey  Ash  Hadley  Harlow

Jayden  Micah  Quinn

Peyton Devon Blake

Emerson Charlie Ellis

Ellery Kennedy  Kendall

Storm Finley Harper

Logan Scout Taylor

Aubrey Corin Dakota

Flynn Emery  Keegan

Lane Paris Rowan

Darcy  Indigo  Makenzie

Rain  Phoenix  Raven

Shiloh Sydney 

 

26
April 28, 2018 7:03 AM

Max could be Maxine or Maximus

Sam - Samuel or Samantha

Mike - I've met both male and female, Michael/Michaela

Jo/Joe

Marty - Marta/Martin

27
April 29, 2018 8:20 PM

Kudos to you for actively preparing for the possibililty of an intersex child and committing to not getting them unnecessary surgeries! Every prospective parent should educate themselves on intersex issues/human rights. Too many intersex kids grow up with lives full of secrets, shame, and medical trauma.

 

Here are some of my favorite gender-neutral names:

Adrian

Arden

Ari

Bevin

Cedar

Cody

Devon

Dorian

Jacoby

Kade

Fox

Gavi

Harper

Hazel

Nico

Ocean

Rae/Rey

Remy

River

Sage

Sylvan

Tavi

28
May 1, 2018 6:45 AM

Charlie

Aiden (not my favourite but it works)

Bailey

Bobbie

Blayke

Cameron

Chris

Devin

Drew

Gabriel

Frankie

Jamie

Jules

Max