50 Gender Neutral Character Names for Writers
I’ve got to change one of my character names. In the early draft of my book, she’d been called G, short for Giorgiana, a frilly Italian name bestowed by her mother who didn’t travel to Italy because she got pregnant first. As a nonbinary 17-year-old, my character uses female pronouns but refuses to use her given name and goes by G….fair enough characterization, but the name doesn't work for my readers.
I could keep it, of course, but why? There are so many unisex names that could map better to my character’s backstory and not trip up readers.
I haven’t chosen a new name yet, but I’ve mapped out a big list of candidates—and I’m passing along in case it helps. Whether you’re writing queer characters or just want a name that conveys the perfect amount of spunk for a tomboy or femmey guy, here are 50 names to consider.
50 Gender Neutral Names for Characters
Creating Unisex Character Names
These 50 gender neutral names are a great starting point, but why stop there?
Many unisex names actually started as gendered names, then switched genders or became more neutral. My name used to be predominantly male, then became a major girls’ name. Your character could be one of the few and proud opposites to the new convention.
Many traditionally male first names read as unisex when they’re shortened: Like Max could stand for Maxwell or Maxine. Bobbie could be Robert or Roberta. Abbreviating a more conventional female name to something that reads as unisex can be an easy way to show how your character doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes.
Last names are popular choices for any gender. A character could have a traditionally gendered name but go by their middle or last name because they feel more comfortable with a gender neutral name.
Place and word names are popular among celebrities (Apple, Blue Ivy, Dakota, etc.) and these don’t suggest any particular gender expression either.
Whatever name you pick, make it say something about your character. How do they move through the world? How do they identify? Do they play one role at work and another at home? Do they long to be called by another name - and what does that longing say?