Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Freda Hawver-Pachter

Freda has two gay mothers and two gay fathers. Her mothers who are Freda’s legal guardians decided they would give her both their last names, hyphenated. At the time, they didn’t know her fathers would be so present in her life. Freda’s brother, who is biologically from the same father but other mother, has the same last name Hawver-Pachter. Both her mothers felt strong attachment to their names and histories, and decided to hyphenate them so neither were lost. Although Freda doesn’t know is she wants to marry, she discusses what she would do with her last name.

 I don’t know, maybe we’ll just make up a new name, that’d be kind of cool. Or like, I don’t know… Because I wouldn’t want to drop either name, just for sake of my mothers’ feelings, and also I would not know which name to drop. I don’t consider myself an avid feminist, but I just don’t like the idea of having to get rid of part of my identity to be married to another person.

 Having a hyphenated name helps Freda explain about her family, and makes it easier to prove that both her mothers are actually her mothers, for example in airport security.

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