Recent front-page article for the Wall Street...


December 15, 1992

IN A recent front-page article for the Wall Street Journal, titled "Gender Bender: A Boy Called Dana Causes Confusion," reporter Dana Milbank described the frustrations of having a sexually ambiguous first name.

It was a heartfelt and amusing piece. Just as entertaining were the empathetic letters of response from other folks with gender-bent monikers, including two men named Dana.

"I acquired a nickname when I played basketball in fifth grade and was grateful to have it as a substitute," wrote the mellifluously if unhappily named Dana Dunn of Cincinnati. "That is until it turned up in the local newspaper instead of my given name. I can still hear my mom on the telephone to the local recreation director: 'I would like you to know that my son's name is Dana, not Ace.' "

And this from Dana K. Peterson of LaGrange, Ill.:

" . . . My wife's name is Donna. A few years ago, I worked in my bank's branch in Madrid. Horror of horrors: In Spanish my name would be pronounced 'donna,' and my wife 'dohna.' Then try saying don Dana and dona Donna."

Then there was the letter from an Atlanta woman named Clyde:

"My husband's name is Otto. Even old friends sometimes call us by each other's names . . . Often new acquaintances will ask, hopefully, 'What is your middle name?' This drives me nuts. If I had a decent middle name, wouldn't I use it?"

The full name at the end of the letter is Clyde Hurt Feil.

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