Their Name is Nonbinary

Their Name is Nonbinary

Nonbinary names seem especially fitting in this Year of They, the pronoun named 2019’s Word of the Year by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster

The gender identity of many names is constantly shifting, but this elite group of nonbinary names is given near-equally to baby boys and baby girls.  (Most names are not exactly even, but we looked for names that were at least 40-60).

While many people see certain names as more gender-neutral — or more male or more female — than others for qualitative or historical reasons, the 24 names on this list are quantifiably the most truly gender-neutral names right now.

Top Nonbinary Names

These are the Top 10 baby names that, according to Social Security statistics, were used near-equally for boys and girls in 2018.

Charlie — Charlie has made great strides toward gender parity in recent years. In 1960, Charlie was less than 5% female. Today, it’s the only really popular name — in the Top 250 for both girls and boys — that is used very close to evenly. While Charlie can of course be a short form for both the Top 10 Charlotte and the classic Charles, the short form used on its own is the true top nonbinary name.

River — Nature name River is nearly as popular overall as Charlie, but it’s given about 60 percent of the time to baby boys.

Emerson — Emerson is almost as widely-used as River, but the gender balance is tipped in the other direction, with about 60 percent of the baby Emersons girls. Ironic, for a name that started out as strictly male. But the Em beginning is reminiscent of Number 1 girl names Emma and Emily.

Finley — Finley is another surnameish choice used slightly more often for girls, perhaps because of the ley ending which is more closely identified with popular girl names such as Ashley.

Dakota — In 1990, less than 20 percent of the babies named Dakota were female; today that’s 58 percent. Dakota is a Sioux place name meaning “friendly one”.

Skyler — Dutch occupational name Skyler — it means scholar” — is given to more girls today, but in 1990 it was used 75 percent of the time for baby boys.

Tatum — Tatum‘s popularity is completely driven by celebrity, first by (female) Tatum O’Neal and more recently by (male) Tatum Channing. This is one name that has become used far more often than it was a generation ago for baby boys.

Justice — Justice is a modern virtue name free of a binary gender identity.

Denver — City name Denver is used slightly more often today for boys, but in 1990 the name was given to six baby girls…and 110 baby boys.

Bellamy — Fashionable Bellamy is definitely one of the names in this group that lean more heavily toward being used for girls.

Unique Nonbinary Names

The names below were used for fewer than 100 babies total in 2018, but approached even use for baby girls and baby boys.















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.