Change the World

5 Different Ways Gay Couples Decide on Last Names for Their Kids

Recently, 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

David let the gender of the child decide the fate of the last name. "We kind of flipped a coin," he wrote. "[We] decided if we had a girl we'd use my mom's middle name and my husband's last name, and if we had a boy we'd use my husband's middle name and my last name."
And the award for the most practical solution to the "name game?" That would definitely go to Dan: "We decided based on what would look better on a soccer Jersey," he said.

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Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

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Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Change the World

Single Gay Man Adopts Girl Passed Over by 20 Previous Families

Luca Trapanese, a gay dad from Naples, Italy, adopted a baby with Down syndrome who had been rejected twenty times previously

Luca Trapanese, a single 41-year-old gay man from Naples, Italy, had always wanted to become a dad. But in Italy, it was only legal for married heterosexual couples to adopt until 2017. Even then, he was told that he'd only be able to adopt a "hard to place" child, with mental or physical challenges.

"They told me that they would only give me sick children, with severe disabilities, or with behavioral problems," he told the BBC in an interview. "I was absolutely ok with that."

And that's how Alba, a little girl with Down syndrome, came into his life. Abandoned at birth, she had been passed over by 20 separate families before Luca was approached about providing her a home. Luca, who has worked and volunteered with people with disabilities from a young age, readily agreed.

"I'm proud to be her father," Luca said. "Alba was never a second option because she had a disability. I wanted her to be my daughter."

Listen to the entire interview here.

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Growing a Thicker Skin

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Photo credit: BSA Photography

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I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

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And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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