A 15-year-old Icelandic girl named Blær is suing the state for the right to be able to legally use her name. Blær is not one of the 1,853 females name approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee and as such the girl has been identified as stúlka, literally ‘girl,’ on all official documents since birth.
The problem stems from the fact that Blær is a masculine word and an accepted boy’s name, even though Nobel Prize winning author Halldór Laxness using it for a female character in one of his novels, Brekkukotsannáll (The Fish Can Sing) in 1957 and that another woman, born in 1973, is called Blær, as stated on mbl.is.
In Iceland, people are referred to by their first names—even the president is referred to as Ólafur Ragnar instead of Mr. Grímsson—and are listed as such in the phone book. Surnames are (usually) patronymics, based on the father’s first given name.