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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Naming Etiquette - Is there Any?

We’ve begun discussing baby names and have one boy’s name picked out so far. I’ve agreed not to divulge that name to any other human as baby names have apparently been “stolen” around our neighborhood prior to birth. I doubt the names were actually swiped, but how many Aidens can one neighborhood handle?

But back to the name game, we’ve initially decided that the babies will have both our last names and they’ll be hyphenated. At first this sounded like a simple solution, until I began considering names. The children would basically end up with four names, and our last names don’t exactly hyphenate well. Then I wondered what would happen when (if) our son someday married. Would his wife take the hyphenated name? A daughter could easily take her husband’s name, or opt to keep our name. It just seems like later in life, the hyphenated last name could become complicated. I’m not sure what most gay parents do about this since there really is no set etiquette that I’ve heard of.

My next thought was to legally change my last name to Nick’s. His last name is actually similar in sound to mine and I’d prefer that we all have just one family name. No one in his family shares his last name and I never cared much for my last name. At this point, I don’t feel much, if any, connection to the name or my family. If my parents found out, I’m sure they wouldn’t be happy, but they’ve already condemned me to hell. What more could they do to me? I’m sure they’d find out considering I’m a partial owner of their house and send my part of the mortgage payment each month to my mother. If I changed my name, could this have any effect on a possible future inheritance from them? Maybe I’m over-thinking this.

I looked into the process and the actual name change doesn’t appear to be the difficult part. After changing my name, I’d then have to get a new driver’s license, passport, social security card, credit card, health care card, etc. and then report it to my employer. If I ever applied for a job where a background check was conducted, I believe I would have to explain the name change.

Changing my name sounds like a lot of work. My main reason for considering a name change is to make life easier on the kids. Would it be embarrassing for them to have a hyphenated last name? Every time their full name is called in class, they’ll stand out. Another option would be to give them only Nick’s last name, and then I would be the oddball in the family. I don’t care much for that solution, but it may be the best option for the kids. I’ll continue my research and see what other gay couples have done.

6 comments:

Mace said...

hey GayDad.. its Mace from Oz..

..lesbian couples in Australia have approached the naming etiquette in a range of ways.. but hyphernating is popular..

..as is, choosing one surname that everyone one takes..

..another option, that my partner and i have opted for, is to creat a new surname, from both our last names.. a combo name.. other women have also done this..

Mace

Mace said...

hey GayDad.. its Mace from Oz..

..lesbian couples in Australia have approached the naming etiquette in a range of ways.. but hyphernating is popular..

..as is, choosing one surname that everyone one takes..

..another option, that my partner and i have opted for, is to creat a new surname, from both our last names.. a combo name.. other women have also done this..

Mace

GayDad said...

Thanks Mace! I would prefer to change my name, but I'm still wondering if that would cause me more problems than it's worth.

I forgot to ask you - did you mention that gay people cannot adopt in Australia? What about surrogacy?

Louie said...

My partner and I have also discussed the surname situation. Being of Hispanic origin, it's actually quite common to have multiple surnames. Many people that come to the United States find it odd that they only go with one, single surname.

On the other hand, my partner is not Hispanic and so he's not used to using multiple surnames, let alone adopting a Spanish surname next to his English surname.

So, we are now looking into creating a whole new surname using a combination of both our surnames. The way we see it, since we are going to be a "non-conventional", why not have a surname to go with it!

Perhaps the uniqueness of having a rare and non-existant surname will be a positive thing and help our children to feel even more special than they already will be.

After all, conformity and blending in only take you so far. At least, that's how I see it.

Dare to be different!

Anonymous said...

My partner and I are having the naming etiquette problem too. Not her really, just me. I am the biological mother but I want our children to have her last name. I think that will make her feel more connected to the child and since she impregnated me, it only seems right. Problem - we have both changed our names before and she had so much trouble, she won't do it again. I would like to add her name to mine so the children will have her name. I can't find which way it goes though - when referring to myself, is it the first or second name that I use if I choose not to say the whole thing? I would like to keep my name for professional reasons. Can I get my name hyphenated, go by my last name only and use only her name on the birth certificate?

GayDad said...

We ended up deciding on having my last name as a second middle name. I'm don't really feel all that connected to my last name anyway and decided that I didn't want them going through life with a long, hyphenated last name and dealing with it later when/if they get married. I thought about changing my last name, but it sounds like a huge hassle!