Could Elvis be a girl?

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The way things worked out, I was given the task of naming both my sons. When my wife was pregnant with our first son, I thought long and hard about what qualities were important to me, what my aspirations were for him, and what I most wanted to share with him. I came up with the perfect name, too, to incorporate all of this: Redwood. And so his name is Jared. My experience with my second son (third child) was similar. I chose Tuolumne. His name is Ezra.

And so I can sympathize with a Swedish couple who are having difficulty with their new daughter's name. Only, this time it's not the wife or mother-in-law that is vetoing the appellative choice, it's the government. You see, in Sweden, children's names have to be approved by the Skatteverket -- the National Tax Board. Personally, I would think that, so long as any relevant fees and taxes are paid in a timely manner, they wouldn't really care what you called your kid, but I guess they do.

So what's this horrendous moniker these terrible parents want to bestow on their child? Well, it's Elvis. Yes, Elvis, as in The King of Rock and Roll. Only, that's not why they picked it. "We talked about lots of names," says the mother, Linda "and then Elvis popped up. We thought it was a name that was both pretty and gender-neutral. We're not Elvis Presley fans at all." Actually, it was the gender-neutral part that sold them on the name.

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The Skatteverket disagreed, however, ruling that "Elvis is a first name of a masculine type and as such may, in light of standard practice, be considered clearly inappropriate as a first name for a woman." The couple plans to appeal the decision. It is worth noting that last year, a couple was able to convince the Skatteverket to let them name their daughter Metallica.

As for me, I'm with the parents. If they like the name and feel it fits their criteria, then so be it. There are certainly a lot worse names than Elvis that have been bestowed on children.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.