Saint John — In an initiative that a source working for Norman J. Bossé, the Child and Youth Advocate for New Brunswick, says will make life easier for the province’s youth, New Brunswickers will soon require government approval for their children’s names.
“What gives parents the right to assume the gender of their children?” our source asked. “It’s absolutely wrong for kids to be burdened with a name that does not suit their identity, and that burden should be taken away at birth.”
As early as 2018, parents will be required to choose from a list of pre-approved, gender-neutral names that will be provided by the Government of New Brunswick. The list, which will continually be reviewed and updated, will contain such gender-neutral names such as: Jean, Kelly, Gabriel, Jude, Terry and Sam.
Currently, the list is relatively small at around 10 names, but New Brunswickers can be assured that they’ll have a list of up to 20 — possibly even 25 — names.
When asked about the potential confusion with such a small pool of names, our source was not phased. “Names will be on a first-come-first-served basis where the parents will be given the choice of which number will accompany their child’s name. For example, Terry_49 or Terry_04 — any number they want, so long as it’s not already taken. That also adds quite the incentive to register and secure their child’s name sooner than later; imagine having to explain to your child that their name is Jude_431 instead of Jude_389 simply due to lack of urgency!”
In the future, the government plans to also ensure that names will adhere to bilingualism as well as gender-neutrality. “We live in an officially a bilingual province, and we believe bilingualism needs to also be reflected in our names,” continued our source. “Well, not our names, of course, but anybody who will be born within the next few years. We do realize that as the program evolves, it could cause previously approved names to become invalid, but we’ll deal with that later. Baby steps, baby steps.”
This initiative will likely be embraced by most of Canada, the source believes. “I can’t speak for Quebec — nothing ever pleases that province — but I can see the rest of Canada becoming the worldwide leader in gender-neutrality.”