Grimes and Elon Musk tweak baby name after confusion around compliance with state laws

Grimes and Elon Musk’s decision to name their newborn son ‘X Æ A-12’ certainly raised some eyebrows.

Now the musician and Tesla CEO have changed their baby’s name almost a month after he was born.

Whether they chose to do so or didn’t have a choice isn’t immediately clear, but the small tweak does mean the name now fits better with California’s naming and birth certificate requirements.

What’s wrong with the old name?

California’s Office of Vital Records says names on a birth certificate must only contain “the 26 alphabetical characters of the English language with appropriate punctuation, if necessary”.

That means hyphens and apostrophes are allowed, but in California, ideograms, pictographs and even diacritical marks aren’t permitted — let alone numbers.

US family law attorney David Glass told People that while the name wouldn’t have been accepted, it wasn’t technically illegal.

He said it was likely a birth certificate with the name X Æ A-12 would be rejected.

“They have an opportunity to appeal the rejection of the birth certificate application but it’s unlikely that it will be granted because, again, California … has been struggling with using symbols,” he told the US publication.

“Your child won’t have an official name and won’t have a birth certificate and you can’t get a social security number until you have a birth certificate and on down the line.”

What’s the new name?

Replying to an Instagram comment, Grimes confirmed the name had been changed to X Æ A-Xii.

“Roman numerals. Looks better tbh,” Grimes explained in a later comment.

Whether the new edition of the bub’s name has been officially approved or not isn’t yet known.

Dr Glass also told People that Roman numerals were included in the list of characters prohibited in names in California.

“In California, you can only use the ’26 characters’ of the English language in your baby name’,” he said earlier this month.

“Thus, you can’t have numbers, Roman numerals, accents, umlauts or other symbols or emojis. Although an apostrophe, for a name like ‘O’Connor,’ is acceptable.”

But other legal analysis reports that while many American states prohibit the use of a numeral in a name, they do allow that numeral to be spelled out.

A report published in the George Washington Law Review by Carlton F.W. Larson says this certainly isn’t the first time American parents have tried to use numbers in baby names.

“American parents have employed every number from zero to twenty in their spelled-out forms as names for children,” Larson says in the report.

Uh… how do you say that?

As far as how to pronounce the name goes, even the couple themselves have reportedly been at odds about how to say it.

Grimes took to Twitter just days after the baby’s birth to break down the meaning behind each character of the name, explaining that A-12 — since changed to A-Xii — meant “precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent.”

Musk jumped in as a reply to the tweet, clarifying “SR-71, but yes.”

Replying to another Instagram comment about pronunciation, Grimes explained “it’s just X, like the letter X. Then A.I. Like how you said the letter A then I.”

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But Musk told comedian Joe Rogan that Æ is in fact pronounced ‘Ash’ soon after the baby was born.

“I mean it’s just X, the letter X. And then, the Æ is, like, pronounced ‘Ash’… and then, A-12, A-12 is my contribution,” he said.

Good luck to all X Æ A-Xii’s future teachers when his name comes up on the roll.

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