He legally changed his name to match his wife's last name on the day of their marriage on May 29th, 2016. Mathew Brender shared his story so that others can understand how he felt throughout this journey. He made his decision after contemplating it for months and after talking it over with his wife.
"I am sure this will scare the shit out of many as it definitely has for me", said Mathew
He offered a brief explanation why he chose to change his last name: His wife hadn't considered changing her last name from Broberg.
In an article, he wrote about his beliefs and how life decisions can be tough sometimes. The story centres his beliefs and his behaviour. "I believe in the symbolism of a family unit- with common names and no ambiguity to them. The Smith's ,The Jone's. There's comfort in the simplicity here: an old-age convention that signifies a family unit. I like it", said Mathew.
He also talked about gender equality. He learned them from the feminist minds around him. His mindset changed after taking a college course that explored how gender influences everyday concepts. He saw that history revolved around a man's worldview. For all these reasons, he wanted to be a part of the gender equality mindset.
"When we got engaged, we had a discussion on the name thing. He proposed many options and one of them was Brender-Broberg. But that sounded like some shit hyphenated". They strongly felt that a name is a part of someone's identity, and they also took into consideration other unconventional approaches. Then, he proposed something different: changing his last name. The pros were:
We happily agreed to that.
"After the decision was made, though, my excitement turned to fear. It hit me, hard that what am I giving up? Who am I distancing myself by taking this action? My last name is of great importance and I haven't explored all the pieces of it just yet".
"The idea of changing my name back to Brender if the worst were to happen is a particular kind of pain", said Mathew when he listed getting a divorce as a con.
He believed that a shared effort and shared experiences determine a family's strength, not last names. "I was raised in part by my stepmother, we shared no blood and no name but she parented me in ways only a mother can".
He felt that the pros and cons are not as important as the feeling he has for his wife. He also said that this is his story, a story he can be proud of. He also accepts that a name change alone cannot change how people view gender equality. However, it was a small step in a lifelong goal.
"I love the outside view of it, too. I imagine a future where I "make it" as a technology business executive, making reasonably absurd quantities of money and leading thousands. And I'll do so with my wife's last name".