Intersex Baby

We just found out our child will be intersex (XXY chromosome). They are not a boy nor a girl and we are waiting until they grow up to see which gender they indentify with.  We have limited name options.  So far we've thought of Phoenix, Dakota, Aspen and Kenndall.  Any other unisex name suggestions?


February 26, 2016 8:55 PM









February 26, 2016 10:05 PM

I really like phoenix but other names could be:



February 26, 2016 10:12 PM

I like Phoenix

February 27, 2016 12:03 AM

First, I'd like to say how refreshing your approach is. I teach courses that include units on intersexuality and  your little one is lucky to be born to such accepting parents, as this attitude is unfortunately not representative of most families. 

The name we'd use in this situation is Hero. We also considered Aubrey and Robin but realistically their present usage patterns skew very female. Unisex names I see with enough regularity to know examples of kids of both genders include Avery, Riley, Sage, Holland. I also have heard Merle suggested as a good choice for a person whose gender is not pinned down to either extreme, and I really like that one -- it's really free of preconceived notions not only because it's a fairly unusual name with a long history of being unisex (variant of Muriel AND of Merrill), but because there have been bearers of both in pop culture.

I will try to link up my spreadsheet of unisex names, or at least pull out suggestions that fit within your preference range of sex ratio. Names distributed 40:60 or 25:75 seems still very ambiguous to me-- but let me know what your ideal range is.

February 27, 2016 12:13 AM

I agree that this baby is a lucky one.

I really like Sage from that list. It has the same nouniness as Phoenix, Dakota, and Aspen, but it's a little simpler. The only Aspen I've known was female, so I cannot see it as unisex, though objectively I know that it can be. Likewise Kendall (with any spelling). Especially with a rather prominent female Kendall all over the media.

Phoenix is a cool name but it also has some heavy imagery attached to it that's quite well-known, and could be a little too much baggage for a child who almost literally will be forging a new beginning. I feel like the child will either feel like the name is amazingly perfect or that it draws too much attention to an issue that people wil already be focusing on. 

February 27, 2016 3:52 AM

I can't see Kendall, by any spelling, as unisex, either -- I'd immediately assume a Kendall was girl-identified. In 2014, 12% of the Kendalls born were male, so it *is* still hanging on as unisex, but I would expect the name to be tilting further away from that thanks to Ms Kardashian's relative rise in fame in the years since. Other surname names like Peyton or Sidney seem more unisex to me, still. Garland is mostly in historical use as a masculine name, but I think that Judy Garland's prominence and the floral meaning would make it a more natural crossover, and it's rare enough in use that your child would likely be the only association for most people.

Others from the list of names that I personally like which are close to equal in usage for births designated as male and female: Justice (Justus), Garnet, Valentine?

WHen I browse for names listed as unisex, suggesting a history of masculine and feminine use ( I am seeing Arden, Claude, Elian, Indigo.


February 27, 2016 7:28 PM

I second Merle! I was just thinking about that name and how neat it would be, and I wondered if I liked it better for a boy or girl. 

February 27, 2016 1:36 AM

I agree it sounds like your child is lucky to have you, as you will be lucky to have them!


A few more suggestions, sorry for any repeats:

















Sky or Skyler (Skylar is 89% female, Skyler is 44/66)



Something like this list might be helpful:!/vizhome/GenderedNameChanges/GenderedNameChanges

February 27, 2016 4:00 AM

Oooh, TKB! Good suggestions for names - I really like Tesla, in spite of its being majority DFAB right now, because to me that's balanced by the prominence of Nikola Tesla as the namesake, and Ellis is nice and also makes me want to suggest Hollis, too. But I'm extra appreciative of the links you provide, which give a view of not just the new births but the previous generations, too. Great finds!!

February 27, 2016 4:58 AM

I am seeming to remember that you already have quite a large family? A larger brood and then a set of twins, is that right? I promise I'm not stalking you, it just stuck with me because your twin daughter's name is the same as my daughter's and it's unusual enough that it was memorable, especially that you used the name meaning twin ON a twin.

I checked back in the birth announcements forum and it looks like I'm remembering correctly. That context makes chosing a name for this baby a little different, because your girls' names are uniformly very lacy and clearly gendered (and there are a lot of them!), so many unisex names you choose will end up seeming in that context as masculine. This is heightened by the fact that [pretend older son's name] is a name that is close enough to Dominique, one of those truly unisex names. I think the best match I can think of that would leave me not-entirely-sure about the gender of your last child (without seeming like too enormous of a style departure) is Valentine, which shares some of the romance of your daughters' names along with the more elaborate feel of your son's name.

I'm wishing you the best of luck with everything- I can't imagine having four children in under two years, much less having those four children be a part of a sibset of seven!

February 27, 2016 8:01 AM

Given that all of the girls have names ending in a, I would aim for  a name that is traditionally masculine but ends in a To give flexibility and a sense of familial belonging. Luca and Ezra immediately come to mind as names that I wouldn't be surprised to hear on either gender. 

February 27, 2016 9:51 AM

Since looking at your suggestions, we have revised our list as of last night:). Our seventh child's top names are:

Phoenix Rae

Ezra Rae

Noa Rae

Dakota Rae


Our child will be the seventh child in our group:

[Names redacted due to impersonating of another, real family]

'Baby XXY' Rae (September 2016)


We chose Rae for the middle name to follow the styles of Rose and Robert, while still being unisex:)


By EVie
February 27, 2016 3:06 PM

Your children have beautiful names. I would actually be wary of Rae in that spelling, as it reads very feminine to me--I have never seen a male Rae, though there are plenty of male Rays. And while your child is intersex, most XXY kids tend to present closer to the male side, don't they? My knowledge is limited to what I am reading on Wikipedia, but it says that a lot of the differences only start to present at puberty. So given that, and the fact that boyish names on girls are more socially acceptable than girlish names on boys, I would err on the side of a unisex name that skews even or masculine. 

I would recommend going with the spelling Ray, or better yet, something more clearly androgynous like Robin (which would tie in really nicely with your son's middle name of Robert--yes, it reads more feminine these days, but it has such long history as a male name that no one would blink an eye at Robin in the middle on a boy--Robin Williams, for example, is very well known). I also really like the suggestion of Rowan, which is traditionally masculine but has been moving in a very feminine direction, and echoes the Ro- of Rose. Rory, Riley and River would work nicely as well.

I would not use either Noa or Ezra, as they are too strongly tied to either gender. Noa is a feminine name, and Noah is a masculine name, and though they sound the same, neither one is really androgynous. Noa Rae in particular reads as very feminine to me. Even though Ezra ends in a, it is still totally masculine to me, though I know it is getting some use for girls, and Ezra Rae doesn't read androgynous to me so much as confusing. Dakota and Phoenix both read more androgynous to me, but again, Rae in the middle instantly transforms them to feminine. Dakota Rowan or Dakota Rory are closer to truly androgynous.

Truthfully, though, I don't really care for either Dakota or Phoenix in your sibset--they seem very, very far afield in style from your very Latinate kids, and I would want to avoid making this child feel like the odd one out as he or she will already be different. In your place, I would probably go for something like Julian, nicknamed Jules--traditionally masculine, but has some history of use on girls, very wearable by a girl in today's naming climate, and if the child ends up wanting something even more traditionally feminine, easily nicknamed to Julie. Elliott would fit the bill nicely, too--traditionally masculine, but there are lots of girls wearing it these days, and Ellie is a very easy transition. Ariel would be another cool androgynous choice that still sounds traditional and fits in with your frillier girls. Alternatively, a more preppy-sounding surname like Avery or Ellison, or a name that is tradtionally masculine in some cultures and feminine in others, like Luca or Nicola. And I just have to throw out my very favorite traditional but androgynous name, Callisto--it is feminine in Greek mythology, but masculine in Italian (the Italianized version of Calixtus/Callistus, the name of several popes). 

Other ideas that I think would work as androgynous choices in your sibset: Averill, Cassidy, Christian, Devon, Laurence, Paris

February 27, 2016 3:58 PM

The names that I encounter that are truly androgynous, as in when I read them I have no idea whether the bearer is male or female, are Tracy, Taylor, and Rowan. I don't know if they really fit the pattern of your other children, but they do seem to be a better match than the modernity of Dakota or Aspen.

For the middle name, I agree that Rae reads female. Instead, you could go with the Star Wars spelling Rey. In the movie, she's a girl, but the spelling could work for either gender.

February 27, 2016 7:46 PM

I was having the same thought about the spelling of Rae being better as Rey. It's got a female, current namesake but also is the spanish word for "king" (with pre-2015 having an entirely male history of use)... so now I think it's pretty solidly ambiguous. I would probably choose Robin, myself, as it's a squarely unisex variant of Robert but it's also a nature name like the girls' Rose.

February 28, 2016 12:07 AM

I was going to suggest Rey, too, for the same reason.

February 28, 2016 1:03 AM

While Julian usually skews masculine, it also has a history as a feminine name (Julian of Norwich, a medieval English mystic and fascinating woman), and I know a 6-year-old girl named Julian as well. (Her parents, like me, are medievalists, so it makes sense to all of us!)  I was going to suggest Robin as a middle name (mostly female, but still skews somewhat androgynous), and it could still work.  Julian Robin? Julian Rowan?  I'm actually liking Julian Rory the best right now--it's truly androgynous, but will work no matter what gender presentation (if any) your child eventually settles on.

Congratulations and best wishes!

February 28, 2016 10:30 AM

Julian Robin would fit the siblings perfectly, being a Latinate name plus a Ro- middle name. I love the contrast in the gender expectations: Julian is almost always male nowadays, but historically has been used for both, while Robin used to be male but is more often female nowadays. Plus, Robin in the middle would mean that the children with a Y chromosome would all have a form of Robert in the middle, while the children with only X chromosomes would all have Rose in the middle.

Edited to add: oh, and with Robin, all of the children with two X chromosomes would have a nature-name in the middle. (I agree that sibling-set cohesiveness is not the be-all and end-all, but in a family where all the daughters have the same middle name, I think it's important to continue that theme.)

February 29, 2016 10:42 AM

But I wonder if the feminine Julian is pronounced differently than the masculine. More like Julie-Ann vs. Jul-yun. 

I think the suggestions of Rowan and Rory are perfect. They are different than your Latinate syllbling set, but I think syb-set cohesiveness is over-rated.

I also know a female Tate, which you might consider. Or perhaps Kato--It reads as a male name, but with its similarity to Kate could also work on a girl. 

Big congratulations to you on your new child. They are very lucky to have you as a parent. I'm excited for you and for them.

By EVie
February 29, 2016 11:37 AM

The one female Julian I've known was pronounced the same, as is Julian of Norwich (at least when discussed by historians... pronunciation of English in general was different when she was alive).

February 28, 2016 4:09 AM

I like Noa a lot. It is mostly used for girls, but not exclusively, and kids names are heard and spoken much more than they are written and read anyway. I really like Phoenix as well.

I love Aspen for an intersex baby (and I could list loads more tree and nature names that are neither male or female) but I'm not sure if it's the best fit with your existing name set. I also like the suggestions of Hollis, Julian and Merle.

Some more ideas:

Rosario, Oriel, Seneca, Asa, Emory, Alexis, Corinth, Jessimiel, Persimmon, Augustine, Lior, Tovia, Zenith, Auriel, Calidore, Viridian, Micah, Zuriel, Indigo, Amaranth, Nocturne, Artemis, Echo, Zephyr

February 28, 2016 8:24 AM

I like all of your choices, but I'd advise against Kenndall because it skews female to me (my primary association is Kendall Jenner, of the Kardashian ilk). I'll also suggest Alex and Rowan.

I also find it refreshing that you're waiting for your intersex baby to tell you their gender, instead of assigning one to them.

February 28, 2016 4:52 PM

i like these but some may sound diffrent withe rae as a middle name but give it a chance

jase or jacye



jordan or jordyn




February 28, 2016 4:58 PM

Congratulations on your soon-to-arrive family member! And I would echo everyone else's sentiments wholeheartedly: This baby is lucky to have you, and you are certanly going to be lucky to have them, too.

We didn't know the sex of our child before he was born, so we actually picked out a name in case they were intersex. We settled on Julian (which was suggested above) because, although it does skew male, we know a few female Julians and Julian of Norwich--a person whose intellect, faith, and passion were not confined by gender--seemed like a valuable namesake, too. We also know lots of people--male and female and at least one trans person--who go by Jules. It seemed flexible, which seemed essential when naming an intersex baby, but it wasn't just flexible: Julian had a lot of meaning for their specific situation but was still a wonderful name for a person regardless of sex, since we didn't want to ignore sex/gender or make it the only reason why we selected the name.

Whatever name you choose, I wish you the best in locating a name that honors every part of your new person and shows them how much they are loved.

February 28, 2016 10:54 PM

I am so confused... is this a fantasy family forum? Or are you just pretending to be Rob or Amber Mariano?

By Eko
February 29, 2016 5:27 AM

Good point.

Assuming this isn't her, I feel like Amber Mariano should be made aware of the identity hi-jacking. Assuming a famous persons name and adding fantasy twins to the list of that persons actual kids gives off a creepy stalkerish vibe.

February 29, 2016 10:44 AM

Oh, how odd. Sorry I responded to what appears to be a troll. 

February 29, 2016 1:41 PM

Thanks for this comment, mollsabell. It alerted me to the fraudulent nature of this thread. The other moderators and I have discussed this off line and feel that it's very inappropriate for someone to pretend to be someone else online, especially since the assumed identity is that of real people and their children. We support the general accepting tone in this thread in regards to the impending arrival of an intersex child and the naming questions raised by the child's arrival, but feel that to invent such a scenario, especially one involving real people, is wrong unless it's clearly stated that the thread is hypothetical. 

February 29, 2016 1:50 PM

This is a very odd and regrettable situation. Since I cannot private message you, I'd like to know how you and other moderators communicate offline, since I've been a moderator since 2012 and don't know any way of communicating other than this. Thanks.

February 29, 2016 1:59 PM

Karyn, CafeMom put us in touch with one another back when we were dealing with that ginormous spam attack last year. I'll send a message to them to put you in the loop; you (and any other mods out there who aren't already in the email loop) can do so, too, to increase the odds that they'll do so promptly.

February 29, 2016 2:00 PM

Thanks, I appreciate that. 

February 29, 2016 1:56 PM

Yes, thank you, mollsabell. The inconsistencies internal to the OP's posts as well as the inconsistency with what appears to be a real-life reality TV couple's lives make it clear that this "family" is fantasy rather than reality, and likely a violation of terms of use. As Elizabeth T. said, the mods are working on this.

For folks who would like to continue discussing this interesting and important topic in a more honest thread, we actually have had at least two threads on hypothetical names for an intersex baby: