I got married to my wife on May 29th, 2016, and that Day I legally changed my name to match hers. Why you may ask? There are two reasons actually
1. My wife didn’t consider changing her last name to Broberg
2. I felt strongly of having shared surnames.
After that, my wife and I weighed the pros and cons to the name changing scenario.
Because honestly our last names sounded like shit together -Brender-Broberg. She felt, that a name was part of our identity. So I proposed why not change my last name. And there were some immediate wins by doing so:
1. It aligns with my belief on equality. Thus, creates a family unit, defies gender norms.
2.It puts an idea (her and I are equals) into action (equal consideration for who’s last name we take)-In our house I do the dishes and we share the responsibilities. Changing my name is a significant way to show I believe she is my equal.
3.I like that it sounds more Jewish (bonus)- I am proud of my Jewish heritage and all it has taught me. However heritage is not tied to the name. To the best of my family’s research, my last name is a fake, purchased by people escaping persecution at a time of immense hatred.
So while my surname leads somewhere between the trenches of one war and camps of another, it’s incredibly likely that it’s not mine anymore than any other. No name will change that.
The cons were what was I giving up? Who am I distancing myself from by doing this? Will my father feel ashamed? Will my brother feel disowned? Will my aunts and uncles still see me as family? Was I shoving myself into another’s family tree. What would happen in a divorce? But the pros outweighed the cons.
There’s a difference between “I believe” and “Acting”. However believing is powerful, influential and important. Acting is infinitely more so. I hope that this act inspires other men to consider changing their name.
I know a name change alone will not bring about gender equality. The name change is a small part of a lifelong goal that puts equality into practice everyday. I would like to sign off by saying My name is Matthew Brender Broberg. That’s my story. It’s a story I can be proud of.