French court invokes 'gender confusion' to prevent parents from naming their daughter Liam

French courts are cracking down on unconventional baby names. (Photo: Grady Reese/Getty Images)

It could be back to the baby name book for one French couple.

As The Local reports, the parents of a daughter born in November 2017 are fighting for their right to name her Liam.

The traditionally male-gendered moniker has raised the ire of French prosecutors, who have reportedly argued that it would “create a risk of gender confusion” that could harm the girl socially. (Liam is a diminutive of William, the French version of which is Guillaume.)

Local news outlets report that the public prosecutor is taking the matter to court with the aim of getting a judge to stop the couple from using the name and force them to choose another.

It’s not the first time the anonymous couple, who have two other children, have raised concerns with an unconventional name selection. The registrar suggested giving the infant “a more feminine middle name,” but the mother hesitated.

The two are reportedly looking to hire a lawyer and have postponed their daughter’s baptism while they await the scheduling of a trial date.

Though the practice of giving girls traditionally male names has become popular in the U.S. — Jessica Simpson‘s daughter is named Maxwell Drew, while Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have a girl named James — France tends to take a more conservative view.

The prosecutor cited famous Liams, including actor Liam Neeson and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, as proof that the name is intended for men. According to BabyCenter, however, Liam has shot up 4,383 places since 2017 to become the 2,664th most popular name for girls.

It wasn’t until 1993 that French parents could consider unusual names, having previously been restricted to a government-approved list of prenoms. And French courts have intervened before when they feel the creative streak has gone too far. Names that have been banned include Fraise (the French word for strawberry) and Nutella, which was changed to Ella in 2015.

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