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Gender-Blender Name

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Her dad was a psychic who pre-ordered her birth certificate. He only got one thing wrong.

"I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named 'Sue.'"
Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue" (written by Shel Silverstein)

Most of the time, one can guess somebody's gender by reading their first name. Most first names have a well-defined gender, such as Alice or Robert.note 

...Well, most.

Sometimes the only name you get is an ambiguous abbreviation, such as Sam. Or a gender-neutral name, such as Dominique or Claude in French. Or worse, a name whose "default gender" changes from one country/language to another (or even over time in the same country!), like "Andrea" which is typically female in the U.S. and other Anglophone countries, in Spanish-speaking countries, and most European languages but typically male in Italian (in Greek it means "manly"). And let's not forget the names that must be written down to determine the gender, such as Tony/Toni, Adrian/Adrienne or Francis/Frances.


Titles and initials can be misleading too, since many are assumed to be male. Expect Samus Is a Girl reaction when the actual gender of the title bearer is revealed. note 

... And last, there are names which have no cultural ambiguity, but were chosen for the sole purpose of being the opposite gender. Usually played for laughs, but not always.


A frequent variation occurs when writers who skimped on research of a foreign culture's naming conventions inadvertently give a woman a masculine name or (less commonly) a man a feminine name. Russian characters are particularly vulnerable to this. (Confusingly, "Sonya" and "Tanya" are female names but "Sasha" and "Valya", being diminutives of Alexander/Alexandra and Valentin/Valentina respectively, are gender-neutral and "Nikita" is a male name, even though they all end with the same vowels — "я" ("ya") being a separate letter from "а", which matches its Latin lookalike — which, in most Russian names and words, take the feminine grammatical gender.)

If a character is fated to become a permanent Wholesome Crossdresser or the victim of a Gender Bender accident they will typically have had names like this, because Fate is just funny like that.

Can sometimes be considered the Embarrassing First Name or the Embarrassing Middle Name.

Tomboyish Name is a Sub-Trope. Moustache de Plume is a similar trope, where a female author goes by a male pen name or uses an ambiguous form of her real name.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • Aruosumente: Jasmin Fiorella. Lante claims that came about because Jasmin's mother wanted a girl, but he could be lying just to see Jasmin lose his cool, as Jasmin hates the name.
  • Asteroid in Love: As lampshaded by Ao herself, together with her Boyish Short Hair in the past (she's now in Girlish Pigtails), this is why Mira mistook Ao as a boy for years after seeing her once as children. "Ao" is an unisex name, but more likely used by males.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo Kurosaki. His father tells him it means "the one who protects"; true to form, it's written with the kanji for "one" and "protect", but is a homonym for the Japanese word for "strawberry". Just don't try to bring this up in front of him.
    • Gin Ichimaru, "Ichimaru" being the the stage name of a famous geisha. Despite this, it's not particularly feminine.
    • Berenice Gabrielli is a guy according to the Viz translation.
  • Blue Exorcist: The name "Rin" is normally for girls, though there are rare occasions when it is used for guys. In his case, the name is spelled with the kanji for "phosphorus" and belongs to the resident Anti Anti Christ lead...who can cook and has other rather feminine traits.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan: The Butt-Monkey main character's name is Sakura which means "Cherry Blossom". But there are rare cases in which it's a guy's name.
  • Cowboy Bebop: The petite female hacker of the team is called Edward. It's part of a ridiculously long name which Ed chose for herself because she thought it sounded cool. It was Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV. Even though her real name is just Francoise Appledelhi.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Sasamaru, one of the first named demons Tanjiro faces, is acually a girl, despite the fact that her name ends with the masculine -maru suffix.
  • In Fairy Tail, three of the main characters are dimunitive, sapient catlike creatures called "Exceeds". All three have gender-blending names to some extent:
    • The most prominent of the three is Happy, which is a fairly unisex nickname. Natsu chose the name based on what everyone was feeling after the conflict over his egg disappearing was resolved.
    • In Japan, the prissy, stuck-up female Exceed is named.... Charles. It's pronounced in the French style, like the first half of "Charlemagne". When the manga/anime was localized, she was given the feminine variant, "Carla", appropriately.
    • The biggest, strongest Exceed, with a coat as black as pitch and a completely ripped human-sized body, is called... Lily. Granted, his full name is "Panther Lily", which is suitably more epic, but everyone tends to just call him by the last part of his name unless they're being formal.
  • Free! is Gender-Blender Name: The Show; all the main male characters have feminine names: Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, Rin, and Rei. And the main girl is named Gou, through she prefers Kou.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Tohru's name is more often given to boys, which is occasionally lampshaded. A flashback reveals that her father gave her a typically masculine name in order to emphasize her femininity, comparing it to adding a little salt to something sweet to enhance the flavor. Other characters tend to refer to her with the masculine honorific "kun" as a result, and also because creator Natsuki Takaya considers it "a more dignified form of address" for her.
    • Akito is another girl who was given an intentionally masculine name, since she had to be passed off as a boy due to her mother Ren's petty jealousy.
    • Some of the male characters have names that are usually feminine, such as Ayame and Megumi.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Rico and Claes are given male names by their handlers, who are somewhat uncomfortable working with brainwashed underaged girl killers, so the names help to disassociate them.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: This is used as Family Theme Naming for the Shirogane siblings, with the older brother being named Miyuki and the younger sister named Kei. No one ever comments on it.
  • Kamisama Kiss: Tomoe is a white haired Bishōnen although Tomoe is a female Japanese name.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Kamille Bidan. It might be a country-dependent choice given his French-sounding last name, but Kamille's sensitivity about his name causes all sorts of things to happen in this series. Indeed, there may not even have been a Zeta Gundam if he were named Bob.
  • My Hero Academia: There's a character called Invisible Girl, but whose real name is the masculine Tooru. Word of God says that Tooru was originally supposed to be a boy, but he decided that this character's gimmick was more amusing for a girl.
  • Pokémon Adventures: Ruby and Pearl, though the fact that these are female names is never noted in-story. Ruby actually reflected his external personality, although Pearl did not (They gave him the character "hard will as a diamond" that reflect Diamond's "rounded emotions as a pearl"). Platinum might count; while it's not a real name, it doesn't really sound feminine, which caused the creation of the fan name "Platina". All of these came about because the protagonists are named directly after the titles of the video game series the manga's based on.
  • Ranma ½: Ukyo Kuonji is a girl, but due to her name and her somewhat tomboyish nature, Ranma grew up believing she was a guy.
  • Rave Master: Lucia Raregroove, the ultimate Big Bad. Yes, he has a girl's name. Since he's the embodiment of darkness, his name also means light. His stepbrother's name isn't much better.
  • The Rose of Versailles: The protagonist is a woman named Oscar — she is the youngest of six girls and her father always wanted a boy, resulting in her being Raised as the Opposite Gender.
  • Sailor Moon: The two more "masculine"-acting soldiers among the Sailor Senshi are named Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) and Haruka Tenoh (Sailor Uranus); the former is a Huge Schoolgirl who loves martial arts, while the latter is a Butch Lesbian. Both names are traditionally male boys' names; however, since then, the both names have become feminine enough to be considered "blender" in the opposite way in Free!.
  • Team Medical Dragon: Dr. Katou's first name is Akira, which is typically a male name. She mentions receiving a tie as a gift from some business associate who doesn't know her personally, but assumes that she's a man due to her name.
  • Urusei Yatsura: There are Ryunosuke (who's a girl with a very masculine name) and Nagisa (a boy with a name that's technically gender-neutral but used more often for girls). They also both fall under Wholesome Crossdresser and are engaged to each other.

    Comic Books 
  • The mother in FoxTrot is almost always referred to as "Andy" (short for Andrea).
  • Subverted in Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. Zoe tells Kaylee she's naming her newborn daughter Hoban after her father (cue WTF from Kaylee), but she was joking: the kid's real name is Emma.
  • In Gargoyles' comic continuation, Brooklyn and his wife have an egg which he calls "Egwardo" as a joke. Word of God says that it will eventually hatch into a daughter, however, who will be named Tashi.
  • Stephanie "Stevie" Trevor, a Wonder Girl from DC's Multiverse. She's the daughter of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.
  • There is also Charlotte "Charlie" Gage-Radcliffe from Birds of Prey

    Fan Works 
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, the Tsuruya family doctor is called Sakura. Yes, he's male.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: This being a Touken Ranbu fanfic, all the unreleased swords featured in the series receive male personifications, even ones with nowhere near masculine names like Himetsuru Ichimonji, Hatsuzakura and Sasanoyuki.
  • Prison Island Break changed Shadow's full name to "Ursula Leslie Robotnik". He claims that it means "Oops. We expected a girl."
  • In Masks Within Masks Subject Seven is female, but takes the name Steven as a human.
  • Played With in Goldstein. Yehudah, raised in an Orthodox Jewish community, assumes that someone named "Dove" would be male, since it reminds him of the Hebrew name "Dov" (pronounced like "grove"). He likewise assumes that "Basil" is Floral Theme Naming and thus feminine.

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: Simon has an alter ego referred to as "Simone".
  • In Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man's daughter, Morgan, is named after her maternal great uncle, Morgan. He tells his wife Pepper in Avengers: Infinity War that he had a dream of them having a boy named after Uncle Morgan but they just kept the name when Morgan was a girl.
  • Subverted on The Partridge Family. A young male visitor introduced himself as what sounded like Sue, but when Reuben responded, "A boy named Sue?" it turned out the visitor's name was actually Sioux, as in the Native American tribe. He was one-quarter.
  • In the movie The Producers it's said that Adolf Hitler's middle name was Elizabeth, which also turns out to be the middle name of the transvestite director.
  • A male character in the movie Swingers is named Sue. Apparently, his parents were inspired by the Johnny Cash song of the same title.
  • The couple in The Blue Lagoon name their son Hannah because Paddy Button had told them about his cousin's baby by that name. In the 1980 film, they name the baby after Paddy. In the second book, the sailors call him Dick after his father, and his friend Katafa calls him Taori.
  • Although Edith, a male character from Ghost Dad, claims his first name is a boy's name, he also explains he was named after his grandmother.
    Sir Edith Moser: It's pronounced edd-ith!
  • Julia gets quite a shock in Date Movie when Grant's "best man" Andy turns out to be an extremely attractive woman.
  • The titular character in The Little Devil is a little devil who possessed an Italian lady named Giuditta. He liked her name, so after his exorcism, he decided to keep it as his own.
  • In Up, Russell never stops calling the big, colorful bird he finds "Kevin" even after learning that she's a mother of several chicks.
  • The villain in Streets of Fire is named Raven. Raven is a dude. Played by Willem Dafoe.
  • Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, in Gravity.
  • In Casino Royale (1967), Peter Sellers plays a baccarat expert recruited to play James Bond, with the name Evelyn Tremble. Vesper Lynd asks him straight off if that isn't a woman's name. ("...No, it's mine, actually.") Of course, there was also the writer Evelyn Waugh.
  • Nemesis is Gender-Blender Name: The Movie. Alex (male), Sam (male), Max (female), Angie (Male) Julian (female), Michele (male) , Billie (male), Germaine (male), Claire (male). What the reason for this is unclear, because the movie is generally a cyberpunk thriller filled with ludicrous explosions.
  • Jupiter Jones from Jupiter Ascending. Not that Jupiter is a common name for any gender by any means, but it started out as the name of the male Roman Top God, after whom the planet is named.
  • In Seven Samurai, Toshiro Mifune's nameless wannabe samurai drunkenly picks out his name at random from a scroll he showed the six ronin hired to help a village. The name he points to is "Kikuchiyo". Problem is, it's a girl's name (Or, rather, two girls' names rolled into one.) The name sticks anyway.
  • Morgan: Morgan and Lee are both female. Morgan is an Artificial Human and Lee is a "risk management executive" who has come to check up on her. Androgynous names is not the only thing they have in common.
  • In Rhinestone, Dolly Parton's character is named Jake Farris. There is no indication it is a diminutive, so it must have been deliberately chosen.
  • The gynecologist brothers from Dead Ringers are named Elliot and Beverly. It's implied that their parents gave Bev a girl's name to help set their identical twins' childhood experiences apart from one another.
  • The Rookies: The leader of the rookies is a Senior Agent named Bruce. She is played by Milla Jovovich.
  • Toy Story 4: Bo Beep's sheep are revealed to be called Billy, Goat, and Gruff but when Woody apologizes to them and he called them "guys". However, Bo corrected Woody and said that they are "girls".
  • The Eiger Sanction: George is a woman. No explanation is given as to why she's named that.

  • Nancy Drew has a friend named George, although it's always made clear that she's a girl. At least one spinoff series has attributed this to her real name being "Georgia" and her being a tomboy.
  • One half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Oliver and the Seawigs is a teenage boy named Stacey de Lacey. He was bullied for what he assumed was having a traditionally girl's name, though it may have had more to do with the fact that he wasn't that pleasant a person to be around.
  • The Wayside School series has two characters named Nancy and Mac who eventually swap names to fit their corresponding genders. Nancy was named after his aunt, and Mac's mother named her after a dog.
  • In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Stacey is the main character's brother.
  • From the book Chartbreak, Finch (last name) and Christie. The former's a girl, the latter's a guy.
  • Douglas Hofstadter (of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid fame) wrote "A coffeehouse conversation about the Turing test", whose characters all have gender-ambiguous names. This is a homage to Turing's original article: there he presented his thought experiment, with the object of distinguishing human from machine, as a variant of an earlier party game with the object of distinguishing woman from man.
  • One Encyclopedia Brown story featured a Gender Bender Name as the key to solving the case (a male doctor named Vivian) — while it's technically a unisex name, it's more commonly associated with women. Jody Turner, one of Encyclopedia’s friends, also has one.
  • Vyvyan Ayrs from Cloud Atlas.
  • Baccano!:
    • Claire Stanfield is male. It doesn't help that he's also a murderous psychopath. No wonder he prefers to go by nicknames. This is lampshaded in the Light Novels, where Isaac points out that it's not too uncommon for men to have feminine names, "and who knows what sort of name a monster would have."
    • Chane is a woman given a (French) boy's name. Maybe that's why she ended up with Claire.
  • Subverted in the book Beyond Rejection — a former man whose personality has been transferred to a female body asks to be called "Patricia", aiming at this trope. The therapist points this out and starts calling her "Trish".
  • Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's book I Will Fear No Evil, character Johann Sebastian Bach Smith has his brain transplanted into the body of a young female murder victim named Eunice Branca. Johann then chooses the name Joan Eunice Smith. He states that if "Joan" is pronounced as two syllables, it sounds a lot like 'Johann.'
  • In the Heechee Saga, the main character is Robinette Broadhead, a man. He usually goes by Robin or Bob. Still, being saddled with a woman's name is one of the things he talks about during his extensive therapy sessions.
  • Sapphire: Not only does Claude sound rather feminine to some English speakers, it is a gender-neutral name in his native French. Rather fitting for a French-born Bishounen, eh?
  • In Holes, Mr. Sir's real name is Marion Sirvio. "It is a boy's name!"
  • Merideth in Dreamsnake, whose gender is left entirely up to the reader.
  • Tyler Rodney Clark from the little-known novel Literature/{{Ghostland} had her name chosen because her mother was part of the Women's Liberation Movement. However, it barely matches her personality, her only tomboyish trait being her male friends.
  • Abe from Spice and Wolf. It's not her birth name, but being a female merchant has its difficulties, so it's better for business. She also calls herself "ore".
  • In-Universe, Nezumi in No6 chose to go by the stage name Eve because he plays female roles.
  • Beth Metatronim in Burying the Shadow is a man. This is not considered strange or embarrassing in canon.
  • The main character of the Vanessa Michael Munroe series by Taylor Stevens chose her alternate (male) name as part of a disguise she once took up, for which she shaved her head and crossdressed. She's been called Michael by associates and clients ever since.
  • In Tunnel in the Sky, the inventor of teleportation and savior of humanity was Dr. Jesse Evelyn Ramsbotham. The narration suggests that he might have become a quarterback capable of talking to women if his parents had given him masculine names. Instead his Embarrassing First Name and Embarrassing Middle Name drove him to lonely mathematics and physics.
  • Karla, the shadowy Russian spymaster, from John le Carré's The Quest for Karla and the film adaptation of the first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In this case Karla is definitely male, but very little more is known of him; he chose his codename from that of the first agent he recruited, sometime during the Spanish Civil War, and it's used because his real name is unknown.
  • In The Well of Loneliness, the protagonist's parents are so convinced that they will have a son, that by the time their daughter is born, the only name they have decided on is Stephen.
  • The given name of Tinker is Alexander Graham Bell Dufae. Everyone who looks for her going by her name automatically assume that she's male.
  • Silence Montane's daughter William Ann from Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell. Silence's husband was named William.
  • The Mako Saga: Mac, short for Evelyn McKinney. She thought Evelyn sounded like an old woman's name, and refused to go by her Embarrassing Middle Name Twilah .
  • In the Chaos Gods series, De's real name is Jannina, an explicitly female name. His parents chose it in accordance with a prophecy, expecting a female child. De strongly prefers his self-chosen nickname, to the extent that the I Know Your True Name magic of the Sister Gods is less effective than normal on him because he doesn't truly consider Jannina to be his proper name.
  • In The Monster Blood Tattoo Trilogy, people tend to be surprised when they learn Rossamund's name, noting that it's exceedingly feminine for a lad. This earned him no end of mockery from the other foundlings, who called him names like "Rosy Posy". He later learns that this is because he's a rossamunderling, a type of human-like monster.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nip/Tuck has the organ trafficker James LeBeau, who's played by Jacqueline Bisset.
  • Jayne from Firefly has an ironic name in contrast with his vicious, mercenary nature. However, Jayne is actually a real, though uncommon, male name. Characters on the show have teased him about his name.
    • There's also Mal and Zoe's old war buddy, Tracey Smith.
  • On Nashville a country musician names his male dog Sue in reference to the Johnny Cash song.
  • Holly on Red Dwarf starts out as a balding middle aged man, and only in series 3 becomes a blonde woman. Curiously in a parallel universe, Holly's female counterpart, whose likeness he later copies, is called 'Hilly'. Strictly speaking, as a computer, 'he' doesn't have a gender, and the name is partly influenced by HAL ('HAB' was used in a prototype radio show). Not that it matters as 'Holly' is a unisex name anyway, it's simply more commonly seen as a woman's name than a man's which is why it doesn't matter that Holly was originally supposed to be a girl. The writers were blown away by Norman Lovett's performance, and cast him instead.
  • Pat from Saturday Night Live was a Running Gag based on this trope. And then someone had the bright idea to make a movie revolving around that one joke.
  • Scrubs has plenty of examples:
    • Elliot, whose her parents were expecting a boy.
    • John 'JD' Dorian's original name was Joanna, for the opposite reason.
    • Another character, Veronica, goes by Ronnie. According to Elliot, the former was trying to copy her.
    • Also Jennifer Dylan Cox — Dylan comes from a Welsh sea god. But Jordan named her after JD just to screw with Cox. Jordan herself has an ambiguous name, and there was a running joke that all the women JD slept with for the first few seasons had unisex names (including Jordan's sister, Danni, and Alex).
  • Vyvyan from The Young Ones. His mum never did explain why she gave him a girl's name. This is comedy on two levels; by the time the series was made, Vivian was firmly entrenched as a female name. However, even back in the days when Vivian was common as a male name, it was almost exclusively the province of mustachioed, upper-class toffs, i.e. the opposite of the show's psychotic working-class punk.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Miyuki Tezuka, a.k.a. Kamen Rider Raia from Kamen Rider Ryuki, is a guy. It only goes unnoticed because everyone only uses "Tezuka" to refer to him, but that's the character's official name.
    • Kamen Rider Blade has Sakuya Tachibana, Kamen Rider Garren, who's in the same boat: "Sakuya" can be masculine or feminine, but everyone just calls him "Tachibana".
  • Robin of How I Met Your Mother (Cobie Smulders) was born Robin Charles Scherbatsky Jr. because her father wanted a boy.
  • Sisters Teddy and Charlie in Good Luck Charlie had "masculine" names chosen (allegedly) to attract more boys to the show.
  • Married... with Children:
    • Gary, the owner of the shoe store where Al Bundy works, is a woman.
    • Mary, the maker of the Bundys' couch, is a man. He insists that his name is a male name and emphasized on the last syllable whereas the usual female version is emphasized on the first syllable.
  • Community had Troy dating a person name Randi. He very quickly points out "Randi can be a girl's name" to avoid any confusion.
  • In the NBC Television series Sisters, the five sisters have female names but are given male nicknames by their father, who always wanted sons. Thus Alexandra, Theodora, Georgiana, Francesca, and Charlotte are called Alex, Teddy, Georgie, Frankie, and Charlie. Alex's daughter is named Reed, which is also typically a male name.
  • Jeopardy!'s 2008 Teen Tournament had two contestants named Rachel. One of the two went by "Steve" during the entire tournament to avoid confusion.
  • In Restaurant: Impossible, one of the interior designers Chef Robert Irvine trusts the most to renovate a restaurant is the very male Lynn Kegan.
  • In Chewing Gum, the (female) protagonist Tracey has a cousin with the same name who she calls Boy Tracey.
  • Bryan Fuller likes to do this to his female characters.
    • In Wonderfalls the main female character is named Jaye, which is a little ambiguous.
    • Dead Like Me made this habit blatant, with the main female character George(tte) and her sister Reggie (Regina).
    • Ned's love interest in Pushing Daisies is Charlotte... but goes by Chuck.
  • Homosexual men in fiction are sometimes given gender-bending names to emphasize their perceived femininity: for example Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Because humans generally associate flowers with feminity, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Beautiful Flower was a woman, but it's actually the name of a male Ambassador from Coppelius (the androids evidently consider floral names to be gender-neutral).

  • Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson most likely chose their stage names with the intention of being edgy. Cooper states he got the name (which originally baptized his whole band) from a ouija board. Manson's whole group combined female model names with serial killer last names. However Manson's name is only a stage name, his real name being Brian Hugh Warner. Cooper legally changed his name from Vincent Damon Furnier.
    • Cooper once acknowledged this in an interview—he was at the bank for some reason. When asked for his name, he replied with Alice Cooper. The teller responded with something along the lines of "There are four Alice Coopers in our records." Alice's reply to that? "I'm Mister Alice Cooper."
  • "A Boy Named Sue", by Johnny Cash, tells the story of a boy whose father named Sue to get other kids to tease him, to toughen him up. (His father was a jerk.) This culminates in an epic fight when the boy finally tracked down his dad ("My name is SUE, how do you DO? Now you gonna die!"), which ends with reconciliation between the two (though he does make it a point to say he'd name his own son "any damn thing but Sue! I still hate that name!").
  • Out of the nine Pythagoras Productions idols, four of them have girls' names - Kira, Rui, Tsubasa, and Teruma. The other five just have random words for names - Shy, Atom, L, R, and Alto.
  • The trope is used in the 16th century madrigal "Of all the birds that I do know", which is ostensibly about a pet sparrow named Philip, but which is always referenced with female pronouns. There is probably some sort of Double Entendre that hasn't survived for 400 years, but the song is still beautiful. Can be found here.
  • Singer Annie Clark chose her stage name from the hospital where Dylan Thomas died as referenced in a song by Nick Cave. She apparently didn't care this would make her known as St. Vincent.
  • Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan, born James Southworth. The Bolan comes from T-Rex vocalist Marc Bolan, while the Rachel part may be because feminine-sounding names for a male musician were quite a thing in the glam metal scene, thus Rachel being more appropriate than Jim or Jimmy.
  • Almost the entire glam metal band Pretty Boy Floyd chose feminine stage names for themselves: Kristy "Krash" Majors and Keri Kelli (both guitarists) and Kari Kane (drummer). Only the singer, Steve, and bassist, Vinnie, have recognizable boy names.
  • Country Music singer Gus Hardin was a female. (Her real name was Carolyn Ann Blankenship.)
  • A more common example is singer Charly McClain (short for Charlotte).
  • Vivian Stanshall (born Victor Anthony), the Bonzo Dog Band frontman, among other things, embraced the christened name of his father (who hated it and prefered to be called Victor).
  • Japanese-American musician Nikki Lee is in fact a cisgender, heterosexual male. He later adopted the more masculine stage name Michael Mozart.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Rocket Age, the Julandri courtesans of Mars all use female names, regardless of their gender.

  • In We Will Rock You, Britney Spears is the very male "...the biggest, baddest, meanest, nastiest, ugliest, most raging, rapping, rock'n'roll, sick, punk, heavy metal psycho bastard that ever got get-down funky." And Meat Loaf is his girlfriend, who is called Ozzy in some versions.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, the main character gets a bizarre-looking plant and names it "Audrey II", after Audrey, the girl he likes. The plant gets loosely referred to as female by the characters, but when it starts to talk, it sounds and acts very male. Since plants sometimes are hermaphrodites and this particular plant is also an alien the gender distinction thing gets weird if you think about it too hard.
  • The patriarch of the family featured in August: Osage County is Beverly Weston.

    Video Games 
  • Bridget from the Guilty Gear series is named such because he was raised as a girl, due to a superstition about same-sex twins being unlucky.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Adrian Andrews from the second and third games, which is important because her name sounds masculine (and her last name literally is). This helps derail Shelly de Killer's argument that Adrian is his client, since he states that he physically met Adrian to make the deal, but refers to her as male because he hasn't actually met her.
    • Robin Newman from Dual Destinies plays with this, having a name that is masculine on one side of the Atlantic and feminine on the other. And is actually female.
  • Harold Belserius from Tales of Destiny 2. Remembered as a brilliant male scientist. Or rather a brilliant female scientist who wanted to be remembered as a man just for the lulz.
  • Sissel of Ghost Trick is quite male even if he's not human, but has a female name. This is because he's named after Yomiel's fiancee.
  • As the main characters of Azur Lane are the Moe Anthropomorphism of naval ships, many of the ships made anime girls still retain a masculine name even if their namesake was a man. For example, the ship Prinz Eugen was named after Prince Eugene of Savoy, while Prinz Eugen in Azur Lane is a Ms. Fanservice with Girlish Pig Tails.
  • BioShock
    • BioShock has the class of Big Daddy known as "Rosie" (after Rosie the Riveter, because he carries a rivet gun). They are still very much male.
    • As is Subject Delta, another Big Daddy and the protagonist of BioShock 2. He is actually addressed as simply "Delta" on at least one occasion. Not a common proper name, but it's female.
  • The Soldier in Team Fortress 2 is apparently named Jane Doe. Probably due to this, he keeps a note on his door insisting that he should be addressed as Mister Jane Doe to avoid gender confusion by the name. Due to the Soldier being somewhat of a paranoid nutcase (as well as several other types of nutcase) and "Jane Doe" being commonly used to refer to a female of unknown identity, it's likely that this a pseudonym. This would mean that not only was the name chosen on purpose, he chose it for himself!
  • Jack AKA "Subject Zero" in Mass Effect 2, named apparently solely to have a Samus Is a Girl moment... for everyone who avoided seeing the several trailers she appears in. Not to mention that all in-game mention prior to first meeting Subject Zero conspicuously neglects any sort of gender identifying pronoun.
  • The same actress who voices Subject Zero also voiced Juhani in Knights of the Old Republic. The name Bioware picked was a Finnish variant of John.
  • An example that probably came about because of lack of knowledge of French; Pokémon X and Y's Augustine Sycamore, local professor of the Kalos region, is male. "Augustine" is even the Distaff Counterpart of the name "Augustin".
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Murasaki Shikibu is genderflipped in AkaSeka, leading to a lampshading and explanation that this is an inverse Moustache de Plume meant to make his literature more feminine so it can become more popular. His real name, Fujiwara no Kaoru, falls under gender-neutral folder below.
  • Megumi Kitaniji, a major antagonist in The World Ends with You, has a very feminine first name. According to the manga, he was teased as a child because of it.
  • TRON 2.0 has Mercury, played by the sultry Rebecca Romijn. Jet has a brief Samus Is a Girl moment upon meeting her.
  • Etward and Ennarcia in Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy were originally a boy and a girl, respectively, but the sister decided she liked the male name Etward better than the female name Ennarcia and forced her brother to switch names with her.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, a certain pirate barber's given name is Heart Liver and Kidneys Boiled in the Stomach of the Animal McMutton; Guybrush correctly surmises that his parents were expecting a girl. (Presumably, only "Heart" is his first name.) Understandably, he goes by what all that is a definition of: "Haggis".
  • In Age of Mythology, Egyptian players get a Pharaoh with a randomly-generated name. One of the possible names is Cleopatra.
  • Morte is the Villain Protagonist heroine from Sands of Destruction. While most parents wouldn't name a child of either gender "Death", the Grim Reaper and other personifications of death are generally shown as male. It certainly suits her, though.
  • Sands of Destruction enjoys a double-dose of blending with the names of its two leads, playing off their Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy tendencies:
  • World's Dawn has a little boy named Bloom. While that isn't exactly a common name, most names associated with flowers are for girls.
  • Similarly, Undertale has a literal flower named Flowey, it is made clear Flowey is male no matter how feminine the name sounds like. Whether it was intentional self-renaming or an unfortunate given name remained unknown. His real name, Asriel Dreemurr, is definitely not this trope.
  • Panel de Pon has the water fairy Elias, who has a traditionally male name but is actually a girl. A very feminine girl. Her counterpart in the Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Cecil, also fits.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The main ¡Three Amigos! all have gender-blender names. In Japan, giving your boys the names "Sora" and "Riku" or your girls the name "Kairi" are considered creative.
    • There is also a manly young man with the name Terra. The gender-blender is coincidental, as he complements the Theme Naming of another ¡Three Amigos!. Amusingly, Square Enix has previously used the name in Final Fantasy VI for the very feminine main protagonist (in overseas release, at least; her name in Japanese is Tina).
    • On a similar vein, although it is not a common name in every sense of the word, Vanitas is a feminine Latin word and therefore is technically a female name.
    • Another feminine-gendered Latin examples are the Foretellers, who are named after the (all feminine) Latin words for the Seven Deadly Sins. Out of the six, only two are female.
    • Subverted with Lea and Isa. Both may look feminine, but they have unusual pronunciations (LEE and AY-za). Were it not for the spelling, the former is certifiably a masculine name.
  • In Yakuza 0. Goro Majima is tasked with assassinating a vicious pimp named Makoto Makimura. It turns out that the "pimp" is actually a hitman turned acupuncturist who is helping trafficked women, Makoto Makimura is one of the girls he is protecting, and he uses the name so that prospective hitmen will come after him directly and leave her alone.
  • The Fate Series, which is notorious for gender bending various male historical figures and characters, keeps the names of the people/characters, so in this series male-looking names are absolutely no hint as to which sex the character is. The only, sole exception to this is Arturia, the iconic female King Arthur, with her male prototype design being named "Arthur" instead. As a result, you get a cast full of female characters named such things as Francis, Jack, Hassan, Mordred, or Nero, and people don't really question it. Though there's no shortage of actual male characters and female characters actually based on female historical figures/characters.
  • World of Warcraft presents an odd case with Chromie. Dragons in Warcraft always have gendered suffixes on their names, with Bronze dragons using "ormu" for males and "ormi" for females. Chromie usually takes the form of a female gnome, but her true form is named Chronormu. For years, the Fanon was she was a male dragon that preferred a female form, although this was eventually refuted by Word of God. She just has a masculine name for whatever reason.
  • The protagonist of Prey (2017) is named "Dr. Morgan Yu" but the player can choose for them to be male or female.

    Visual Novel 
  • The Misaki sisters from Go! Go! Nippon! are named Makoto and Akira, which are usually thought of as male names. In fact the protagonist is confused when they come taking him at the airport, since he was expecting two boys.
  • Starship Ezekiel from My Girlfriend Is the President. But you can call her Ell.

    Web Animation 
  • Ozpin from RWBY was originally named "Ozma". That isn't a real name but it comes from the Land of Oz series, where it was the name of a female character (the queen of Oz).
  • Red vs. Blue had at one point a male Private Sue, which is probably a reference to the song quoted atop this page.

    Web Comics 
  • Alex, from the webcomic Aoi House. is a guy... But it's short for Alexis, which can be a girl's name.
    • Alex from Building 12, on the other hand, is a girl...though everyone in the house pretends otherwise at her request. It's...complicated
  • Not really on purpose, but George Parley of Gunnerkrigg Court (above) is a girl. As mentioned above, her father was a psychic who filled out the birth certificate in advance.
    Andrew: They fixed her gender [on the birth certificate], but left her name as George because everyone thought it was hilarious.
  • Super Hero Mr. Mighty from Everyday Heroes is named Marion. (His two brothers are Michael and Morrison; their parents were big fans of John Wayne.)
  • Charlie from Khaos Komix is a transgender woman. Her name can be gender-neutral, however it's rare as an actual name for a girl (it's typically a nickname).
  • Dr. Edward Bunnigus from Schlock Mercenary. Her parents were considered too stupid to breed under eugenics laws so they commissioned a Designer Baby from scratch. When she arrived, they (being idiots) interpreted the "ED" (which stands for "Exotic Dancer", her genetic template) on her medical bracelet as the lab having named the baby for them. They didn't think Ed was "pretty enough" so they called her "Edward".
  • George in Mokepon is indeed a girl.
  • In Sure the descendant of The Invisible Man is named Riley and refuses to let anyone know his or her gender, unless they cheat.
  • In Corgi Quest, Kousuke's horse is named Susan. He wants you to respect his life choices.
  • In Dicebox, the Raffertys didn't want to break their long line of Marys. Hence Mr Mary Rafferty X.
  • The characters of Nebula are the Anthropomorphic Personifications of various planets, stars, and dwarf planets, and not all their genders line up to those of the deities those things were named after. These include:
    • Neptune, who's female, while the Greek god of the sea that she's named for is male.
    • Saturn, Uranus, and Ceres, who don't have genders, though the deities they're named after do.
    • Virginis; while not immediately obvious, his name is a variant of Virgo, the virgin goddess.
  • Raven from Wilde Life. He's an animal person who thinks of names as a human thing, so it's kind of a variant on A Dog Named "Dog". Downplayed because this trope isn't really remarked on, plus the fact that he DOES turn female at one point.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name:
    • It didn't stop Hanna's parents naming him that. He doesn't know why they named him Hanna.
    • Discussed in a guest strip, where Toni suggests Kat as a possibility for {...}'s lost name. Her reasoning is that since he was drawn to Hanna, his own name must also be on the feminine end of the gender spectrum.
  • El Goonish Shive: "Magus" Ellen has a girl's name because he was born female, choosing to shift to male permanently for the increased physical power. His world has high enough magic levels that this is actually reasonably common and socially acceptable, so he didn't feel any particular need to change his name.

    Web Original 
  • Milagros in We Are All Pokémon Trainers falls subject to this since Milagros is a girl's name. He even lampshades it while working at the Cerulean Gym in Misty's place.
  • Mary Palorocini of Limozeen.
  • In Noob Omega Zell (basically a Straw Misogynist) has Morgan as his real life first name. Gaea's real name is Gabrielle, a perfect homophone to its male variation (but possibly less intentional).
  • Sebastian Fox of The Platoon Of Power Squadron is female.
  • Mikelle McDowell's parents in Polyhistor Academy apparently have a strange taste in names.
  • Jack Packard mentioned in a Previously Recorded livestream that his male cat was named Princess Meatball in part because he was "persnickety."
  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, the gate guard for the Hammerheads's base is a man named Barbara.
  • Critical Role:
    • Mollymauk Tealeaf, who goes by Molly for short. Justified, since Molly is genderfluid, and uses he/him pronouns.
    • One of Molly’s companions, the monk Beauregard, is female, and goes by Beau for short. Her parents wanted a boy.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: Captain Betty and has been called that since a ship incident with sea monkeys sank but he survived on June 3, 1999.
  • ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks: In the episode, "A Rose By Any Other Name", Simon has two plants which he named Venus and Lily but Simon used masculine third person pronouns to refer to the plants.
  • The Angry Beavers episode "Open Wide for Zombies" had Norb and Daggett encounter a Swamp Witch named Edgar.
  • Blake Gripling's full name in As Told by Ginger is Blake Sofia Gripling.
  • On Dexter's Laboratory, Mandark's hippy-dippy parents gave him the name Susan.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Kahn Jr. Naturally, she prefers to go by 'Connie'. She explained she was named after her father because he wanted a son.
    • The episode "Uncool Customer" has the birthday girl name Michael.
  • In Duck Dodgers episode "Back to the Academy", Duck Dodgers was evaluated by a drill sergeant named Emily Dickinson Jones. Emily got this name because people's names in the 24th and a half century aren't chosen based on their gender, and his mother was a fan of classic poetry.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Tiffany (a boy) and Gary the Mermaid Queen (a female).
    • Also Jake Jr., a girl. Especially odd since her parents could have used the name for one of her brothers.
    • Even there's a grass version of Finn referred to as "Fern".
  • An episode of The Looney Tunes Show has Bugs and Daffy at a spa, getting massages. Daffy sees that he's scheduled to get a massage from "Joe", while Bugs is going to get one from "Leslie". Daffy swaps the signs, so of course Joe turns out to be a beautiful woman named Josephine, while Leslie is a big, hairy man who twists Daffy into a pretzel.
  • Lego City Adventures: R. E. Fendrich’s full name is “Rachel Elizabeth” Fendrich and claims that his parents were expecting a girl.
  • The Loud House has an interesting example: the dad has nowadays-rather-feminine name Lynn, while his fifth daughter is Lynn Jr. Presumably he gave up on having a boy to pass it on to, which is ironic, since Lincoln was the next one born.
  • Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends: Miss Spider’s husband is named “Holley” but is short for Hollister according to creator, David Kirk.
  • Bojack Horseman has Kelsey Janning's daughter named Irving.
  • Oh Yeah! Cartoons
    • The merman in the Hobart short "Deep Sea Diva" was named Ethel.
    • The Jelly's Day short "Uncle Betty's Strange Rash" introduced Jelly's Uncle Betty.
  • Sanjay and Craig: Belle Pepper’s father, Penny Pepper.
  • Summer Camp Island: One of the characters is a male panda named Pepper.
  • The Fairly OddParents does this with a Companion Cube.
    Cosmo: The good news is I've named my nickel Phillip!
    King Gripullon: What's the bad news?
    Cosmo: It's a girl nickel!
  • Total Drama:
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race: There is a team known as the “Vegans” both of whom are female. But one of them is named Miles.
  • Pound Puppies (2010): Princess is a sour-tempered male dog. "You ever heard of an adorable Maltese named Ralph?"
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In Operation: W.H.I.T.E.H.O.U.S.E., Numbuh One's future as America's president showed that he would have a son name Shirley.
    Nigel: My son's name is Shirley?!
    Kuki: Your wife wanted a girl, sir.
    Nigel: I'm MARRIED?!?!?!?
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz gives Major Monogram some flak when he learns that his first name is "Francis." Monogram simply remarks that it's the masculine spelling.

    Real Life 
  • Novelist Anne Rice's legal given name is Howard Allen O'Brien, because her parents thought it would be cute to name a girl Howard. Apparently, she didn't agree; on her first day of kindergarten the teacher asked for her name, and she answered "Anne". (Remarkably quick thinking for a five-year old.) Her mother witnessed this but chose not to correct her.
  • Billie Piper. Her mother decided that either way she was going to be called Billie before she was born. She was registered on her birth certificate as Lianne but her parents changed their minds back and always called her Billie. And her middle name is Paul.
  • The journalist Georgette Louise Meyer is better known as Dicky Chapelle. She is a war correspondent/photographer who also published many books about the lack of women in her role.
  • In Catholic countries, it is somewhat common to name boys "Maria" or some variation thereof as a middle name, or as a composite first name. Prominent examples include the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke and French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.
    • Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, although it is only his middle name
    • In fact Jean-Marie Le Pen (full) real name is Jean Louis Marie Le Pen, making this a straight example. Jean-Marie is a nickname he started to use on the advice of his (now ex) wife in order to sound more Catholic, a traditional target for what passes for the far right parties in France.
    • Likewise, Joseph sometimes turns up as a girl's middle name or as the second part of a composite first name.
    • Maria José and José María are not uncommon names in Mexican history (sometimes get even a Jesus in the combination!) but most cases the first name matches the gender, as the Josés are mostly men and the Marías women.
    • In France, at least until the 18th century, "Anne" also was used as a first name for boys. A prime example would be Anne, Duc de Montmorency (1493-1567), Constable of France and one of the great Catholic military leaders of the Wars of Religion.
    • Other examples of now-female names being given to boys include Marshal Catherine-Dominique de Pérignon (a twofer, as Dominique is an unisex name) and General Jean-Louis Brigitte Espagne.
    • Some notable Filipino males bearing the name Maria or Marie include Jose Mari Chan, Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison and Jose Marie Viceral, better known as Vice Ganda. Ironically enough, Vice's middle name would eventually make much more sense given he is openly gay.
  • In Scotland, where family surnames are common as middle names (but not first names) girls often end up with middle names that sound pretty masculine.
  • Novelist George Eliot (born Mary Ann Evans), chose her pen name in tribute to her husband, George Henry Lewes.
  • The wife of Irish poet William Butler Yeats was named George.
  • Fay Weldon's parents named her Franklin Birkinshaw (but started calling her Fay almost immediately). One can kind of see the -lin ending might work as a female name, were it not for the connotations.
  • The poet Stevie Smith was female (originally named Florence). It's also been known as a shortening of Stephanie, as in Stevie Nicks.
  • Actress Michael Learned of The Waltons. To avoid confusion, she's often billed as "Miss Michael Learned".
    • Same confusion, different generation: Actress Michael Michele.
    • Also actress Michael Hyatt.
    • Former WWF ring announcer Michael Kathleen "Mike" McGuirk.
    • Michael Steele is a member of the popular all-girl rock band The Bangles. Early in her career, she went by the more feminine-sounding first name Micki, but before that she was known by her birth name, Susan Thomas.
    • Also actress Christopher Norris.
  • Stacy Keach's first name is actually Walter, but he chose to go by his middle name, Stacy, perhaps in honor of his father, Stacy Keach Sr., who was also an actor.
  • The first President of Mexico was Guadalupe Victoria, as in the Guadalupe Virgin, the country's protector Saint. He picked it himself.
  • Vivian Campbell, male lead guitarist of Def Leppard.
  • Actor Mandy Patinkin, whose name is a shortened form of Mandel. Usually when you hear "Mandy", it's for a woman, and short for Amanda.
  • United States President Barack Obama's mother was named Stanley Dunham, after her father, but went by her middle name, Ann.
  • US President Lyndon Baines Johnson had an aunt named Frank.
  • Gordon Meredith Lighfoot passed his middle name along to the next generation. He bestowed it as a first name—upon his daughter.
  • "Beverly" was originally a male name that became a mostly female name. A good example would be male drummer Bev Bevan of Electric Light Orchestra, whose given name is Beverley. There was also British author and playwright John Beverley Nichols, almost universally known by his middle name.
  • African-American heart surgeon Vivien Thomas, whose parents thought they were having a girl and really liked the name. Also has a nephew named Koco.
  • Similar to Dr. Vivien Thomas above, the mother of NFL player Danieal Manning liked the name "Danielle", but had a boy instead. Perhaps she didn't like "Daniel" quite as much.
  • Jessica Simpson named her daughter Maxwell.
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton named their daughter George Virginia.
  • Filipina actress Erika Chryselle "Erich" Gonzales. Her name, however, is pronounced as "Er-Rich," as opposed to "Eric."
  • The late character actor Kay Kuter, who eventually began billing himself as Kay E. Kuter to make it clearer that he was a man.
  • Dame Vera Stephanie Shirley shortened her name to "Steve" Shirley in the 1960s so that her business mail could get through the door in an era when women needed their husbands or fathers to co-sign for a bank account. Everyone still calls her Steve.
  • Jamie Foxx (legal name Eric Bishop) deliberately chose the stage name Jamie because in comedy clubs, female comedians usually perform before the male ones, so when the manager read his name on the list, he would be moved up. However, this is more of a downplayed example, because Jamie is actually a unisex name; it's just more associated with females.
  • And you must not forget the Rugby League player (a VERY manly game) Tracy Lazenby.
  • Major League Baseball pitcher Madison Bumgarner, thanks to Splash. Until that movie, it was a relatively unknown boys' name.
  • In some areas of Sweden (such as Dalecarlia), people still occasionally use the name of the family farm as part of their personal name, regardless of whether the farm had a "male" or a "female" name. For example, a man living at a farm called Sara (a female name) might be named Sara Erik Persson. This naming convention is becoming increasingly rare, but used to be somewhat common before industrialization.
  • The Chukchi tribe will give boys female names and girls male names to confuse evil spirits.
  • Jack Monroe, the food writer, journalist, anti-poverty campaigner and author of the book A Girl Called Jack (also previously the name of their blog), who was previously called by a more obviously female name (however, now identifies as non-binary transgender).
  • The founder of the UFC is a male named Dana White. 'Dana' is technically unisex, but has been overwhelming used for females.
  • "Charlie" has long been a go-to unisex name, as it can be short for both the male Charles and the female Charlotte, but for most of its history it was more commonly given to boys than girls. Starting in 2016, however, more baby girls had the given name Charlie than baby boys for the first time. Other spellings of it, such as Charli and Charley, are more strongly associated with girls.
  • Ditto for Ashley, which went from being known exclusively as a boy's name before The '60s (hence Ashley "Ash" Williams) to the most popular girl's name in 1991 and '92. Like Charlie, Ashley has also seen alternate spellings that are more clearly feminine, such as Ashleigh and Ashlee.
  • Author Evelyn Waugh was not only given one of these names, his first wife was also named Evelyn.

Alternative Title(s): A Boy Named Sue


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