Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Victoria Lebron-Forster-Smith

Victoria Lebron recently married Chris Forster-Smith; she felt that her Latina identity was reflected in her last name, Lebron, but also wanted to demonstrate her union with Chris by taking his last name. The State of New York obligated her to add a hyphen between her natal name and her additional surname, legally making her Victoria Lebron-Forster-Smith. She and Chris are considering what choice they will make if they have children.

When asked about the story of her new last name, Victoria explained, “My decision is based on the fact that I’m Latina and I wanted to hold onto that part of my identity. I mean, it’s the way I look, it’s the way I live, but it’s also my name. Um, and I didn’t want to lose my last name because of it. So I chose to keep my last name, it’s the Puerto Rican name Lebron but also add Chris’s on because i wanted to become part of his family so I decided to keep my last name and add his as well. And so, basically i have three last names: Lebron, Forster, Smith. He’s already hyphenated, and in the state of New York you need to hyphenate between any last name, so I have like two hyphens in my last name now.”

Victoria then went on the explain how her decision to triple-hyphenated will affect the couple’s future children: “So, we’ve like sort of talked about this a little bit. Um, and it’s tricky because I feel strongly about, you know, my heritage, and I want it to be reflected in my children but I also realize that’s kind of…like, you know, doesn’t everybody? But after a while you have to be sensible and not give the kid like thirty thousand names, you know? So I don’t know, part of me is like well, and, you know, like Latin culture, in Hispanic culture its very normal for children to have, like, multiple names, they’ll have like the mom’s last name as a second middle name…so part of me is like, it wouldn’t be that weird. You know?
But, um, another part of me is like for legal reasons its kind of annoying and I also feel like whichever name we choose, is that the one that’s more important? You know, and so it’s . I don;t know, because I think if we give them Lebron hyphen Forster hyphen Smith then that’s just like ridiculous when they meet someone and then what would happen for them? What will their last name…Like, if I had a daughter, what would she choose? I wouldn’t want to make her choose, like. I just think it would be come so complicated, so probably we’d just use Chris’s last name. And then you also have the option, too, of giving them Lebron as the middle name. Yeah, and I think that’s, at least if we have more than one kid, like one of them would be, would have Lebron as the middle name. Right. Because I think it would be awesome.

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