Refused names

January 14th, 2013 at 8:25 am by David Farrar

Tom Hunt at Stuff reports:

Of the 285 rejected between July 2001 and September last year, “Justice” was by far the most refused baby name.

Sixty people, or 63 if you include Juztice and Justus (2), have tried and failed to name their babies as if they were a High Court judge.

Eleven of these were in the past 18 months.

Also topping the list are other names easily confused with titles, such as 29 Kings, 27 Princesses, 26 Princes, nine Majors, nine Dukes, and eight Bishops.

Twenty-one parents tried and failed to name their bundle of joy Royal.

285 refused names over 11 years is around 25 a year or one a fortnight. Not too bad.

But the law said names could be no more than 100 letters long, none could be offensive to a reasonable person, and each name had to abide by the dictionary definition of a name – that it was a word or a group of words.

I don’t see the 100 letters specified in law. The Act says:

For the purposes of this section, it is undesirable in the public interest for a person to bear a name or combination of names if, and only if,—

  • (a)it might cause offence to a reasonable person; or

  • (b)it is unreasonably long; or

  • (c)without adequate justification, it is, includes, or resembles, an official title or rank.

In terms of (a):

“Sometimes it is pretty simple. ‘Anal’, for example, for most people, is quite offensive.”

Did a parent really try to name their kid “Anal”? Surely not. I’d say that should be a mandatory CYFS notification!

Mr McPherson said he was aware of instances where people tried to register names with more than 100 letters, but then reduced them to fit in with legislation, meaning there were some New Zealanders with 99-letter names.

Poor bastards.

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60 Responses to “Refused names”

  1. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    What about acronyms? Are they allowed?

    For example, if you want to call a baby SMJ instead of Sarah Michelle Jones.

    Over the last decade, I have noticed a trend towards people using acronyms for names.

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  2. hj (5,692 comments) says:

    Freakonomics had a chapter on dumb names. In one example though someone with a name like “Loser” went on to do well in the police while his brither “Winner?” was the looser.
    I wonder if the name “Benefit” has been tried?

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  3. dime (8,752 comments) says:

    “have tried and failed to name their babies as if they were a High Court judge.”

    i doubt that was the reason they chose justice. more like they just liked the name/ idea. not “when hes grown up people will think he/she is a judge”.

    hj – a looser?

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  4. nasska (9,513 comments) says:

    The stupidity of some parents who, if justice prevailed would be sterilised & subjected to psychiatric assessment, knows no bounds. Instance the retards who intended to name their baby born on the 1st January “New Year” after sentencing their eight year old boy to a lifetime of ridicule by naming him “Molly”.

    The practise is nothing short of child abuse.

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  5. TimG_Oz (883 comments) says:

    Isn’t ‘Anal’ an Indian name? Perhaps could be changed to ‘Anil’.

    The PC brigade would be up in arms that we would be forcing Anglicised names on ethnic minorities.

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  6. Manolo (12,624 comments) says:

    Benefit was the middle name of Sigmund Freud. :-)

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  7. BeaB (1,948 comments) says:

    I have known several South Africans named Justus. Perhaps it’s a Boer name?

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  8. Graeme Edgeler (3,216 comments) says:

    The 100 character thing isn’t specified in law, but I don’t have too much of a problem with the Registrar declaring that >100 characters is unreasonably long. It would be unreasonable if we weren’t told exactly what it would mean. I also don’t mind the Electoral Commission determining that 52 characters is the maximum length of the name of a political party, when the law prohibits party names that are “excessively long”. It’s better that everyone know.

    Onto the more general point, isn’t it time some of this was repealed? If someone wants to name their son ‘Major’, why shouldn’t they be able to? It is a perfectly serviceable name, one carried by, for example, Major Garrett, the CBS Chief White House Correspondent. I understand the restriction on names being like official titles only came in in 1995. However did we manage before? Life in New Zealand must have been a living hell.

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  9. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    When naming my children many moons ago I was given the sage advice to always choose a name that you’d be happy to call out across the neighbourhood at dinner time.

    Of course some names should be compulsory – a boy born on Xmas eve for instance should always bear the name “Brian”.

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  10. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    I know a gentleman named Justus.

    He’s not from around here, but where he comes from it’s a real name.

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  11. Elaycee (4,067 comments) says:

    @dime:…..”a looser?”

    Perhaps the reference was for someone who had mixed up their laxatives with their Tic Tacs? :D

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  12. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    PS: meanwhile my daughter goes to school with the following children:

    Harley (m)
    Dodge (m)
    Corvette (f)
    Valiant (m)

    We have instructed our daughter that our expectations are she will get the hell out of this town to go to university when she finishes high school, and she is NOT to entertain any of the local boys in the meantime… :-)

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  13. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Have fun with your fancy 99 letter name and travelling with your passport

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  14. SGA (518 comments) says:

    I remember hearing, years ago, of parents naming their twins “Benson” and “Hedges”. Perhaps it was just an urban legend.

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  15. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    I went to school with a Lifebuoy (named after the now-defunct soap brand). Also a Darling and a Lovely, neither of whom was either.

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  16. Longknives (4,048 comments) says:

    This is what you get when you continue to encourage uneducated feral scum to breed….

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  17. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    PS: meanwhile my daughter goes to school with the following children:

    That explains where my son’s fellow student Fairlane escaped from.

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  18. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    Perhaps, in the same vein as legalising drugs, Silly First Name Sydrome should be treated as a health issue?

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  19. SGA (518 comments) says:

    Fom the BBC website 24 July 2008.

    NZ judge orders ‘odd’ name change

    A judge in New Zealand made a young girl a ward of court so that she could change the name she hated – Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. Judge Rob Murfitt said that the name embarrassed the nine-year-old and could expose her to teasing. He attacked a trend of giving children bizarre names, citing several examples. Officials had blocked Sex Fruit, Keenan Got Lucy and Yeah Detroit, he said, but Number 16 Bus Shelter, Violence and Midnight Chardonnay had been allowed. One mother wanted to name her child O.crnia using text language, but was later persuaded to use Oceania, he said.

    The ruling, in the city of New Plymouth on the North Island, was handed down in February but only made public now. The name issue emerged during a custody hearing for the young girl – who had refused to tell her friends her name and went simply by “K”. “The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child’s parents have shown in choosing this name,” Judge Murfitt wrote. “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.” Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’s name has now been changed and the custody case resolved, court officials said.

    New Zealand does not allow names that would cause offence or that are longer than 100 characters, Registrar-General Brian Clarke said. Officials often tried to talk parents out of particularly unusual choices that could embarrass their offspring, the Associated Press news agency quoted him as saying.

    UNUSUAL NAMES
    Allowed: Violence; Number 16 Bus Shelter; Midnight Chardonnay; Benson and Hedges (twins)
    Blocked: Yeah Detroit; Stallion; Twisty Poi; Keenan Got Lucy; Sex Fruit; Fat Boy; Cinderella Beauty Blossom; Fish and Chips (twins)

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  20. seanmaitland (402 comments) says:

    We had our son 18 months ago, and the worst one we heard about through the hospital was a first name for a West Auckland baby of “Bogan” – but it was pronounced “Beau-jeanne”.

    At the hospital (our son was 3 months premature so spent a lot of time there), out of 40 other prem babies we met during his stay, only 3 had normal names. All the rest were weird names, a lot of them with text-speak spelling etc.

    One of the worst was a lady who called her daughter Kytlnn – which is Caitlin, but without any vowels. She said that if her daughter had a cool nickname like that it would help her to stand out from the crowd and be successful. There were a few babies we heard of called “McCaw” also…..good grief, as if that would make their children once in a lifetime rugby players or something.

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  21. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    Anal is actually a perfectly valid Indian boy’s name – it means Fire in Hindi.

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  22. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Sean Maitland –

    It’s almost like there’s a correlation between children given stupid names, and children whose mothers were constantly on drugs and/or the turps while pregnant?

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  23. nasska (9,513 comments) says:

    RRM

    Your Post Code wouldn’t be 5710 by any chance?

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  24. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    nasska – On this forum, I would neither confirm nor deny.

    It’s amazing how these children’s undeserved reputations precede them though. A friend mentioned a friend of a friend had twin boys named Nitrous & Ducati… I mentioned them on another forum once, and someone random said “Oh snap – I know them, they’re living in Taupo now!”

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  25. Jack5 (4,220 comments) says:

    Re Gump at 10.43:

    Are you serious about Anal meaning fire in Hindi, or are you just joking about curry and current hot names?

    Can parents register children with just one name, that is instead of a forename or forenames and a surname?

    I have heard of people changing their fore names plus surname by deed poll to just one name. This must be awkward in the computer age. Imagine trying to sign up for something on a web site, or even filling in a national entry card on an international flight.

    Do the same restrictions apply to deed poll name changes as to registering baby names? Perhaps one of the legal eagle lurkers on Kiwiblog can tell us.

    Name changes have relevance to the blogging world.

    With a change, Cameron Slater could stand for Parliament under the slogan Dinkum (Whale) Oil. Once elected would he prefer to be called the Right (Hon.) Mr Oil, or the Rt Hon Whale. Or would he prefer to be the Rt Hon W.O.B. Hooked.

    Can you hear the Speaker then?

    “Leave the House. Sling your hook, Mr Hook!”

    And can you hear the member for Featherstown, Mr Duck Man-Mallard, then quacking:”Thar he blows, oops goes.”

    In the interests of plain speaking,and multiculturalism, perhaps Whale Oil, in his future political life, might best become Mr Isle B. Phoo-Ked.

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  26. David in Chch (503 comments) says:

    It almost sounds like something out of Catch-22. Sad when life imitates art.

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  27. nasska (9,513 comments) says:

    RRM

    Understood…it pays to be careful.

    SFNS on the other hand goes beyond the parents making a statement or showing an attitude…..their desire to be quirky or non conformist is quite capable of stuffing up their kids’ lives.

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  28. Grant Michael McKenna (1,152 comments) says:

    Anal [pronounced "Un-al"] is a Sanskrit name, meaning “fire”. It is one of the fire-god Agni’s names. Anil means wind.

    In many cultures names are given that refer to the events of the time, either family or national. I know of a South African couple who emigrated to Australia, and whose children, born there, have the middle names ‘Bruce’ and ‘Sheila’.

    My first name used to be a surname; it moved into the first name category during the US Civil War. My surname is both an alcoholic beverage [named after an extremely distant branch of the family] and is now a girls’ name, in my experience used by the kind of mother who was imbibing the product when the girl was conceived.

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  29. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    [McKenna] is now a girls’ name, in my experience used by the kind of mother who was imbibing the product when the girl was conceived.

    :shock: Harsh!! Yet quite believable.

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  30. Mary Rose (392 comments) says:

    My husband once worked with a bloke called Wayne Kerr.
    Quick Google check shows it’s not an uncommon name, either. Irish rugby league player, for one.

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  31. UrbanNeocolonialist (134 comments) says:

    Mother in law is a school teacher and taught two brothers called Andrew and Peter Ness. (A.Ness and P.Ness)

    Went to school with a Sean Lamb, and a Wayne Kerr

    Wife worked with someone who (through marriage) was Tess Tickel

    And if anal is wrong then what about oral roberts?

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  32. David Farrar (1,809 comments) says:

    You can register one name only, but have to state it is due to religious or cultural reasons etc.

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  33. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    Anal means fire in Hindi.

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  34. Longknives (4,048 comments) says:

    Dear God ‘McCaw’???

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  35. Mobile Michael (364 comments) says:

    When it comes to names that confuse overseas we have precedent. For instance, Bevan is a distinctly NZ name, it’s not very common in Wales (where it originates). Despite there being many famous NZ Bevan’s it has fallen out of favour recently. In the US recently we found the locals there had never heard it before.

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  36. ross69 (3,637 comments) says:

    I knew a guy with the surname Hassel. He wanted to name his son Nathan Oliver…which would become N.O. Hassel. :)

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  37. Elaycee (4,067 comments) says:

    Many moons ago I knew a chap with the name James Riddell.

    He was ‘Jimmy Riddle’ to his mates…

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  38. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    I once worked with two Indian men named Anal and Afuk
    After a while the novelty value declined.

    We had a guy at school with the legendary moniker Wayne Kerr

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  39. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    @Jack5

    I wasn’t joking – it is actually a valid name in Hindi.

    It’s not uncommon for foreign names to have unfortunate double-meanings in other languages e.g. Paul Henry and his giggles at Sheila Dikshit, or the Austrian village named Fucking etc.

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  40. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    SGA You are right regards Benson and Hedges. In the 1970s my wife worked at the old Social Welfare department. They had a book where they recorded dumb names. These were twins. Also had Christmas Naughty. Joseph American Bean CoCo Express.
    Some so called parents are worse than dumb.

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  41. Sean (294 comments) says:

    Another reason to get rid of the monarchy, it would seem. Names such as ‘Royal’, ‘Prince’, ‘Duke’ etc. are perfectly legitimate in the United States…

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  42. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    There is a pianist called Wayne King who is reasonable well known

    http://www.musicstack.com/item/254994776

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  43. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    *reasonably ….

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  44. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    dont forget the infamous Mike Hunt from Papatoetoe

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  45. Tautaioleua (266 comments) says:

    When I was in Germany, I visited a rural school. The headmaster was referred to as Mr Fuck but it was written on paper as ‘Funk’ – I only ever referred to him as sir.

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  46. Rex Widerstrom (5,125 comments) says:

    The whole issue of the extent to which one’s given name determines one’s fate has long interested me. People born into poverty – even into families with seemingly poor parenting skills – have transcended that to go on to greatness. The one that comes to mind at present is Bill Clinton, who had an alcoholic father, a brother with issues, and a loving but somewhat slapdash sort of mother.

    So poverty + bad parents does not necessarily equal failure. But bad parents + lame name seems to be the winning combo. There’ve been no presidents called Dwayne, for instance, or Cletus, or Jim-Bob and I doubt there ever will be. Nor groundbreaking scientists, astronauts and the like.

    And it seems it’s not because people are overlooking their otherwise sterling qualities just because of their names… the possessors of such monickers invariably seem to perfectly fit the stereotype that comes to mind when we hear them. Had Clinton been called Dwayne, would he not only never have been President but also never a Rhodes Scholar, never attained a law degree, and be sitting on his porch today watching Nascar racing? Somehow I think he might.

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  47. Linda Reid (385 comments) says:

    I was told today about a young couple who named their son Fiasco – and didn’t know what it meant until some kind soul told them 3 months later.

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  48. Graeme Edgeler (3,216 comments) says:

    I’ve come across a “Swastika” during my work. An immigrant from the subcontinent who instead used her middle name in New Zealand. Apparently few people knew, but on an official document, you have to be official.

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  49. mikenmild (8,794 comments) says:

    There are some correlations between the choice of first name and scoio-economic status. ‘Freakonomics’ describes one such study, I think of names from California.

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  50. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    The race to Idiocracy continues :)

    “An internationally recognised expert on intelligence warns New Zealand children could get dumber in three or four generations unless women with higher education started producing more babies.

    Otago University emeritus professor Dr Jim Flynn was commenting on census figures that show mothers without a higher education were the anchor of New Zealand’s current fertility rate.

    “Everyone knows if we only allowed short people to reproduce there would be a tendency in terms of genes for height to diminish. Intelligence is no different from other human traits,” he told the Sunday Star-Times.

    “A persistent genetic trend which lowered the genetic quality for brain physiology would have some effect eventually.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10450313

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  51. Dean Papa (616 comments) says:

    a footy player

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_Kerr

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  52. gump (1,228 comments) says:

    @Rex Widerstrom

    Some people do transcend the silly names they’re given. But they are few and far between.

    There’s an American woman called Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer who became a successful school counselor. You can do a Google search for more information about her story.

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  53. Manolo (12,624 comments) says:

    The underclass breed like rabbits and NZ gets more crowded, but much poorer in the widest acception of the word.

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  54. HB (266 comments) says:

    I have taught two boys called versions of ‘Justice’

    One was spelt
    ‘Justys’
    the other
    ‘Justyce’

    have they slipped through ‘the system’?

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  55. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,668 comments) says:

    Then there were the Wake brothers, Half Allan Wake and Wide Albert Wake.

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  56. Sponge (108 comments) says:

    My wife once taught a girl who’s name was Genna Taylor. Very unfortunate. I also have a client called Wayne King.

    I think that Anal is what the ferals should have been doing which would have prevented the name being an issue.

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  57. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    I think that Anal is what the ferals should have been doing which would have prevented the name being an issue.

    My wife’s workmate’s mother used to be the registered nurse responsible for answering the after-hours sexual health helpline in Masterton and the Wairarapa district.

    This one time, a rather worried young man phoned, and after a faltering start explained that he and his girlfriend were worried something was wrong, because they had been trying to get pregnant for ages, without much luck. They’d been doing everything right, he’d been putting it in her belly button, the way you’re supposed to, and everything…

    In a moment of inspired quick thinking, the nurse said “You’ll be fine, love. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing, and everything will work out for the best.” :lol:

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  58. Muzza M (286 comments) says:

    I did a prescription for a child who’s first name was Crusader. And yes the parents were ferals, part of the “coming back to pay you on Thursday brigade” for the $3 prescription charge.

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  59. Left Right and Centre (2,393 comments) says:

    For a short time I worked at the same place as a dude called Thong.

    Asian bloke. Made funnier as it was embroidered onto his blue factory coat. Thong. You’re a pain in the arse Thong… etc etc.. insert your own hilarious line here: ,,,,,_______________,,,,,

    Americans are weird and NZ monkeys see and do. So lots of their weird names are mirrored here. And there’s weird popular kiwi names that to me are… ummm…. dreadful. What can you do? I think I got off lightly with Philip. Is that one ‘l’ or two? Gets a bit annoying but apart from that. Who spells Philip with two ls ffs? Wankers…. that’s who. Or is that wannkers? I tell them that it’s Philip with three ls. That throws them off. Or it’s one l but three ‘p’s.

    Must be annoying to be a Graham/ Graeme too. I met a girl called Phil. To me that was a bit different. I should’ve said I’m Paulette. With three ‘t’s.

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  60. Left Right and Centre (2,393 comments) says:

    It would be wonderful to be completely non-judgemental of whatever name a person has or chooses to use. Yes, it would be wonderful.

    Still… I’m glad I’m not alone here in my dislike of awful names.

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