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21 Gender Neutral Baby Names For Your Future Bundle Of Joy

If words hold power, imagine the magic that is unleashed when a child receives a well thought-out name.

Motherhood

Names hold so much power. That's a fact that makes me cringe while also making me feel so hopeful and happy. If words hold power, imagine the magic that is unleashed when a child receives a well-thought-out name. Names are the manifestations of our parents and passed down to us as self-fulfilling prophecies. I wonder if this has anything to do with why we spend so much time considering the names of our children before they're physically in this world. I mean, seriously, I've had names chosen since before I even wanted children.

Whether we view it as inconvenient or unjust, is irrelevant, the reality is that there's so much perceived based through one's name—from the external world to our own internal feelings. Our names should not make us feel more disenfranchised but less so. It should provide us with security, light, and love. Which is why one might consider going with a more gender neutral name for their child. Not to mention, there's something so delightfully (yes, delightful) cute about gender neutral names. This is easier now than ever, as the abstract baby name movement, made it nearly impossible to tie gender to virtually any names. Here are 21 gender neutral baby names to consider if you're in need of a little inspiration.

21 Gender Neutral Baby Names & Their Meanings

1. Ryan

Variations: Ryann

Typically the name Ryan means "illustrious" or "little king" and like many of the other names on this list it can serve as a surname with Irish roots or an English-American given name. Per actress and musician Ryan Destiny, we see that the name works beautifully as a unisex name.

2. Tahj

Variations: Taj

Of Arabic origin, this name means "crown". Actor and one of the Mowry clan, Tahj Mowry inspired this addition to the list.

3. Ashley

Variations: Ashli, Ashly, Ashely

An English name meaning Ash Tree Meadow, the name Ashley is a friendly reminder that gender norms and knows shift with time. Back in the day, this name was more commonly a name for men. But way, way back, its origin was better known as a place or a surname.

Ashley Walters, known for his role as Dushane in Top Boy, is one of many men given the timeless name. You might also recognize him as Antwan from rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's debut film, Get Rich or Die Tryin'.

Note: this name still seems to be prominent for men in the UK. I found that there were quite a few UK entertainers (athletes, actors, etc) with the name.

4. Tory

Variations: Tori

The name Tory means "outlaw" in the Irish language. Infamous rapper Tory Lanez is but one famous person with the name. And though it's unfortunate that I couldn't think of another example of a Black man with this name...I find great humor in the irony here.

5. Charlie

Variations: Carli, Charley

The name Charlie is of German descent and translates to "free man". Murder Inc. rapper Charli Baltimore, known for her distinct red hair and early aughts lyricisim, is one of the better known women of color that carry the unisex name and do it well.

6. Stacy

Variations: Stacey

To be a child simply BORN to the 90s, I probably know of more men named Stacy than meant for my time, as it was in its decline as a unisex name at that point. I owe this revelation in part to the classic movie, The Wood. But it's no secret that what goes around, comes right back round.

The female variant of this name is derived from Anastasia, meaning "resurrection". While the male variant's roots lie in the name Eustace which translates to "steadfast".

7. Kelly

Variations: Kelli, Kelleigh, Kelley

Longtime Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland goes by this nickname, a shortening of her full given name Kelendria. Though its origins are an Irish surname, it has more commonly been known for its origin as an English-American given name. The name translates to "church"; "farm by the spring"; "holly"; "warrior"; and "wood".

8. Jordan

Variations: Jordyn, Jourdan, Jordain

Finally! A name that is not of Irish origin. Though I'm sure you can guess, the name Jordan has Hebrew roots and simply means "to flow down". The most prominent public figure that comes to mind when thinking of this name is socialite and entrepreneur Jordyn Woods. It's worth noting that this is also a common surname.

9. Drew

Variations: Dru

While it serves as a surname and a given name, it is the surname that gives meaning to this name. From an Irish background, the name Drew means "descendent of the druid". As a given name, it is more frequently used for boys and often simply the shortened version of Andrew. Rarely do women have the name but inspired by Drew Barrymore and Drew Sidora — a known actress, currently starring in the Real Housewives franchise — it made the cut.

10.  Aubrey

Variations: Aubree, Aubri

Of French origin, it means "elf ruler"...yikes! That will certainly be a conversation piece. Though the name has typically been viewed as more feminine name, I imagine it has rose to popularity quite a bit since actor turned rapper Aubrey Graham A.K.A Drake A.K.A Champagne Papi A.K.A Wheelchair Jimmy stepped on the scene.

11.  Dallas

Variations: Dallis

Dallas is both a city and a surname of Scottish and English origin. In Old English, the name translates to "valley house", while the Scottish meaning is "meadow dwelling". Award-winning producer and songwriter Dallas Austin, who rose to fame in the 90s, is a masculine-presenting person who was given the name.

12.  Jace

Variations: Jayce

Jace is a Hebrew name that translates to "healer" or "the Lord is salvation". It is a relatively common name in American culture. As far as your fave celebs who were given this name...there aren't too many. But I believe that's because this name is still up and coming.

13.  Jamie 

Variations: Jamee, Jaime, Jamey

An English name that means "supplanter", which I'm not exactly sure how that translates. Though his family may know him as Eric Marlon Bishop, the world knows him as triple threat Jamie Foxx. Wonder if he knew what it meant before he changed his name to supplanter.

14.  Cameron

Variations: Camron, Cameryn, Camaron

Model, dancer, and actress Ariane Andrew better known as WWE stage name Cameron comes to mind. As cute as this name is and I do adore it, the meaning? Not so much! The Scottish name Cameron means "bent" or "crooked nose".

15.  Peyton

Actor Peyton Alex Smith, known for his roles in TV shows such as Legacies and The Quad is a pretty known entertainer with this name, which means "warrior" or "regal" depending on the origin language. Another interpretation is "fighting-man's estate", whatever the hell that means.

16.  Kalen 

Variations: Kaelyn

The name has a few translations from "keeper of the keys" to "pure" or "slender". The origin of Kalen can be found in English, Gaelic, and American culture. YouTuber, influencer, and food critic, Kalen Allen was one of the first men that I know of to publicly have the name. Though it is more commonly a girl's name, it is very fitting as a gender neutral name as well.

17.  Blair

The name Blair is of Scottish origin and means "plain", "meadow", and/or "field". I know it doesn't mean that kind of plain, but the actor Blair Underwood is anything but plain.

18.  Chris

Variations: Kris, Christian

"One who carries Christ" is what this English name means, and is often the nickname for boys named Christopher or both boys and girls named Chirstian. While Christian means "follower of Christ" (also of English origin). Rapper and businessman Chris "Ludacris" Bridges took this name and made one helluva career...or at least a punny one.

19.  Terry

Variations: Terri, Teri

Terry is a unisex name with old German origins and it translates to "power of the tribe". Though I can't think of any women celebs with this name, actor/comedian Terry Crews is in an elite group of men with the name.

20.  Kendall

Variations: Kendal, Kendel, Kendyl

Translating to "Kent river valley", the name Kendall is of Old English origin. Much to my surprise, there were quite a few entertainers with this name; from professional boxer Kendall Holt to rapper Kendall Lake.

21.  Shawn

Variations: Sean, Shaun

Though traditionally used for little boys, the name Shawn has gained popularity as a gender neutral name. It means "God is gracious" and has English-American roots. I first heard of this name being used as a unisex name when Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter mentioned the gymnast Shawn Johnson in "Already Home" — a track on his Blueprint 3 album. But also there's comedian, actor, and one in a million from the Wayans family—Shawn Wayans.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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