Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Laura Zucker


Laura and her partner decided to have children when there was no option for marriage or domestic partner registration. She said that there were very few role models to base last naming decisions off of, and so they just made it up as they went along. Laura wanted their kids to have her partner’s last name, which starts with a ‘B,’ because Zucker comes at the very end of the alphabet, but her partner didn’t like her name. They considered hyphenating but it would have been too long and unwieldy.

In the end, and I guess from the start, our main goal was to make things easy on the kids, and to streamline any potential legal hassles. Since I was to bear the children, we decided to give them my last name, one fewer problem at the hospital when they made out the birth certificates. We were already a curiosity in the delivery room where hospital policy didn’t even recognize my partner’s right to be present.  Also, I was the stay-at-home designee and the public face of our family, so giving them my last name made school and community logistics easier.  As the years passed, it has turned out to be a good decision for other legal and logistical reasons.

We were one of the first couples in New Jersey to do a “second-parent” adoption, so both of their mothers’ names are on their birth certificates, and their other mom’s last name is their middle name. I am personally glad that I had a son who bears my father’s last name, as my only brother had no children. I am very happy that I get to continue my father’s line.


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