Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Lauren Leverenz

Lauren Leverenz married but kept her natal name for professional reasons. In expanding on her reasoning behind keeping her own surname she explains, “I had already established professional recognition and I had my degrees, certificates, diplomas and certifications all in my maiden name. And if I changed that legally, I would have to go back and change all of the preceding.” She explained how her decision was more driven by professional than feminist reasons.

She describes having two different identities in which she uses two different last names, “I had a professional identity, and I had a social identity and both knew of the other… What I did was I was professionally always Doctor Leverenz and I never changed any of my diplomas, licenses, or anything. But socially, I was Lauren Bennet…  Technically, I was always Lauren Leverenz.” She discusses how hyphenation could be an acceptable option for other people, but she would still have to go back and change all of her diplomas, licenses, and certificates. Later in the interview, she talked about different people using different naming practices when marrying at different stages in their lives. “So it’s sort of like wherever you happen to be in the continuum of time when you’re getting married, that ends up being which name that people end up using.”

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