Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Renee Dyer

Renee Dyer’s maiden name was White, and that name is used by her children. Her last name is currently still Dyer from her more recent marriage, but she looks forward to changing back to White following her divorce.

Her sons are “my dad’s only grand-boys and so they can carry on their last names whenever they get married down the road.” This fits because neither of their dads were “around to

sign their birth certificates.” This had to do with Colorado law, “the dad has to be present and be at the hospital when the baby is born and sign. Whereas in California, my mom was able to write my dad’s name on my birth certificate when I was born—he didn’t have to sign it in California.”

Even as she is pleased her sons carry on her natal name, she regrets having changed her name at marriage – but that’s because she regrets the marriage overall. Looking to the future, Renee thinks “more and more, women will start keeping their last names when they get married.” For her, this means, it would give “my name more… Not more rights per se, but being more active, being head of household — you know, wearing the pants in the family.”

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