A couple have been left ‘disappointed’ after Danish authorities refused to register their daughter’s name because it was not ‘female’.
Sukhraj Singh Randhawa and his partner Mette Edith named their daughter Jhelum Kaur, a name of Punjabi origin. Sikh Punjabi names are not gender specific, making it very normal for Sikh men and women to have the same name, in alignment with the Sikh ethos of gender equality.
Danish law only allows unisex names on a conditional basis, with most names needing to be gender specific to be approved for national registration.
Father of Jhelum Kaur, 26-year-old British citizen Sukhraj Singh Randhawa, a respected social commentator known for his Sikh Talk social media accounts, moved to Denmark last year, where two month old Jhelum was born. He said of the rejection, ‘Mette and I feel both disappointed and agitated by this unnecessary administrative hurdle that is brought about by a gendered discourse and legislative framework.’
Whilst other Sikh families in Denmark have registered traditional Sikh-Punjabi names under specific genders, Sukhraj Singh and Mette wish to pursue the right to register Jhelum as a non-gender specific name, in accordance with the nature of Sikh-Punjabi names.
Regarding the rejection Sukhraj Singh added, ‘We intend to go forward and appeal the name Jhelum as a gender neutral Panjabi name alongside the other 965 legally unisex names in Denmark.’