Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories


Our interviews covered women and men, straight and LBGTQ couples—anyone with a nontraditional last name story who was willing to share.  Their candid thoughts, interesting opinions, and powerful reflections gave life to our project and to a topic that until now has remained largely quantitative in nature.  Here are their interviews (organized by interviewer); here are their voices:

Atkins, Lara
  • Sarah Han– Sarah Smith Han and her sisters were all given her mother’s maiden name as their middle names. Her mother  retained her middle name after she was married.
  • Isaac Rowe-Raitin-Given both father’s and mother’s surnames at birth, however decided to hyphenate them for convenience. He believes hyphenated last names aren’t practical.
  • Carmen Verdejo Garcia– Given both father’s and mother’s surnames at birth, however decided to hyphenate them for convenience. He believes hyphenated last names aren’t practical.
Brighton, Kelson
  • Malcolm Perkins-Smith– Has a hyphenated last name. He identified his mother’s decision as Feminist choice.
  • Julia Pendleton-Knoll– Julia has a hyphenated last name.
  • Susana Cruz– Susana is married and kept her father’s last name. She is Spanish and has two last names but only uses one of them in the U.S.
Cahn, Amanda
Carmen, Sophia
  • Corina McKendry– When marrying her wife, they both kept their last name. When having children, Corina decided to give her children her wife’s last name, partly because Corina is the biological mother.
  • Jesse Yancey-Siegel– Child with hyphenated name, parents felt strong connection to their names and wanted them passed down.
  • Luke Terra– When getting married, his wife and he decided to create a whole new family name to pass down to children, as signifier the of creation of a family.
Chabal, Daphnee
  • Sarah Hautzinger– She kept her maiden name in her marriage. Her children have two last names not hyphenated.
  • Joseph Loyaconobustos– Has a combined name. His mother and his father kept their own name in marriage.
  • Alice Guyot– Her parents are divorced and now both in a homosexual relationship.
Cook, Connor (Hershall)
  • Lisa Mueller– A married woman who kept her last name for familial and feminist reasons.
  • Michael Sinclaire– A married man who took his wife’s name for feminist reasons
  • Lauren Leverenz– A married woman who kept her last name for professional reasons.

DiRusso, Laura

Fischman, Rachel

  • JoAnna McCort Fischman– Jo-Anna legally kept her own last name but goes by her husband’s name in certain situations.
  • Mia Ives-Flores– Mia’s mother kept her own name and her father kept his own name, but Mia and her sister have hyphenated last names.

Getabecha, Baiza

  • Fasilidas Teshome Gebru– Fasilidas has an Ethiopian ethnic background; he is married with one child and lives in Las Vegas. His middle name is his mother’s first name and his last name is his father’s first name. His child’s last name is Gebru which is Fasilidas’s last name.
  • Renee Dyer– Renee’s maiden name is White, that name is used by her children. Renee’s last name is Dyer from her first marriage. Renee plans on changing back to White following her divorce.

Gordon, Shayla

Hautzinger, Sarah

Higgins, Jessica

Jain, Rhea

  • Christina Anderson– Divorced & kept her ex-husband’s name; had a child with someone else whom she didn’t marry, gave her daughter her–also ex-husband’s—name.
  • Radhika Chavan– Kept her maiden name when she got married, despite cultural norm.

Laitos, Erik

Lebovitz, Sarah

Osborn, Kira

Rennecker, Amanda (Gracie)

Rippe, Amy

  • Monica Schoch-Spana– Has hyphenated name of both her parents’ since college. Before she only had her father’s name. Her wife took her hyphenated name.
  • Harrison Burwell– Got divorced. Took back her maiden name and added her mother’s maiden name recently.

Rohan, Juwan

  • Amanda Udis-Kessler– Changed her name when she was 7 years old to include both parents last names. She does not exactly remember why she did this.
  • Amy Dounay-Hyphenated her childrens name to include both parents because she does not want her last name to disappear.
  • Heidi Lewis– Changed her last name from her maiden name( freeman) to her husbands last name(Lewis) only to make a political statement. Her statement was that there is a husband/father in the household, because of the stereotypes people assume of African American household families.

Schweitzer, Elaine (Sawyer)

Stetson, Katherine (Katy)

  • Tomi-Ann Roberts-Kept last name for career and family reasons. Felt that having a hyphenated first name was reason to not hyphenate last name.
  • Jean Scandlyn-Kept last name for career and feminist reasons.
  • Faye Phillips– Parents had intention of giving children last name based on gender of first born.

Wilsey, Jaira


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