This past Sunday, we asked our readers on Facebook a question: how did you decide which last name to give you children? While the question might have been simple, the answers were anything but. Here are some of the most common (and creative!) ways gay men have figured out the answer to the “name game” question:
#1) The Hyphen
By far the most common response was also the most simple: just stick a hyphen between both names and call it a day!
“We hyphenated our son’s last name,” said Adam. “And now that his adoption is finalized we are going to legally change our own last names to the hyphenated form as well so all three of us will have the same last name.”
Steven and his partner hyphenated as well, but notes it can make for a long John Hancock: “[We] gave our son both of our last names,” he said. “Its a long one but makes us a unique family: George Bonilla-Graham-Darby.
Bryan’s solution to that particular conundrum? Let the kids figure it out when they’re older. “[our kids] can keep or choose one [last name] if they would like when they are older.”
#2) Concoct Something Entirely New
Several dads said they ditched both last names in favor of something entirely new. “I was Furness, husband was Moore,” Cory wrote. “We became the Fernmoors. Our name change happened just before we adopted our son. Why should we feel we couldn’t let go of our old name when our son had no choice but to do the same?”
#3) The Culture Club
Sæþór notes that the “name game” isn’t one gay dads in all cultures must play. “In Iceland one doesn’t change their name when marrying, gay or straight,” he points out. “It is interesting living in a nation where last names change every generation, these things aren’t as big a deal.”
Others found creative ways to integrate their children’s background into their names. “When my husband and I were married, we kept our last names,” said Dwight. But they decided on something unique for their son. “We decided to use my last name, and to honor his culture and heritage (he is Chinese) we used the last part of his first name as our sons middle name.”
#4) The Single Dad
Many readers pointed out the “name game” isn’t a problem for the single dad. “I’m a single parent,” said Talon. “So that was an easy one for me.”
And what if they partner up in the future? That’s a decision for a later date, says Joseph. “Since I am single, obviously [I kept] my last name,” he wrote. “Now if I was in a relationship it would be an open communication decision that both parties can agree on.”
#5) Leave it to Fate