Baby Name Trends: Gender Benders

Baby Name Trends: Gender Benders

Kids who defy gender stereotypes – and how best to parent them – is a hot topic these days.  The New York Times recently featured a story on boys in tutus and girls with Mohawks on its front page.  And when the J. Crew catalog carried a photo spread of its fashion director painting her 4-year-old son’s toenails pink, it sparked an outpouring of both criticism and support.

Whatever your feeling about pedicures for boys, names that push the gender envelope are among the hottest baby name trends.  The most recent statistics on names making the biggest leaps up the popularity ladder show names that break with both feminine and masculine conventions leading the lists.

For both sexes, these include truly unisex names such as Quinn and Karter and names long favored for one sex jumping gender lines (Charlie going to the girls’ side and Terry to the boys’).   There are also girlish spins on boys’ names and vice versa, such as Danna and Jayleen for girls and Rhys and Emmett for boys.

And then there are the names that are used almost exclusively for one gender but carry qualities usually associated with the other: I’m thinking of the hard-edged Kinley or Kenzie for girls and the soft-sounding Greyson and Jasper for boys.

Here, 20 gender-bending names that crowd the tops of the fastest-rising lists for both girls and boys, in order of how many places they’ve moved up the ladder.


  • Quinn

  • Kinley

  • Kenley

  • Charlie

  • Hadley

  • Danna/Dana

  • Kinsley

  • Finley

  • Jayleen

  • Alessandra

  • Paris

  • Paisley

  • Londyn

  • Kenzie

  • Journey

  • Mikaela

  • Aubree

  • Tatum

  • Ainsley

  • Ryleigh

  • Boys

  • Bentley

  • Kellan/Kellen

  • Knox

  • Karter

  • Easton

  • Rhys

  • Greyson/Grayson

  • Brycen

  • Jax

  • Ryland

  • Cullen

  • Karson

  • Armani

  • Cason

  • Terry

  • Emmett

  • Jayce

  • Beckett

  • Jasper

  • Jamison/Jameson

  • About the Author

    Pamela Redmond

    Pamela Redmond

    Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

    Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.