Salmon Arm couple mixes letters to create new name

With an eye to the future, Kristine Gick and Jason Wagner have been pondering names over the past couple of years. Their own names.

Kristine Gick and Jason Wagner make a change for the future.

The question of ‘what’s in a name’ is one Kristine Gick and Jason Wagner have been pondering for a long time.

Gick (pronounced ‘jick’) has just sent in government documents to change her name. And – so has Wagner.

They are both changing their last names to a new one, one that contains letters from both their surnames.

Once the documents are processed, the couple will be Kristine and Jason Wickner.

Kristine explains she became curious about names when she was a child. Her mom’s surname at birth had been Grattan, her dad’s Gick. When her parents married, her mom changed her name to Grattan Gick.

“I was probably super annoying, always asking why, why, why about everything,” says Kristine. “I liked my name, I was proud of my name. But if my mom’s name was Grattan Gick, why weren’t we?”

It led her to think about when she has kids of her own.

“I had a disconnect – my mom had feminist values but it didn’t get translated into my name.”

Jason says that before he and Kristine got married two years ago, they began discussing what to do.

“We’re really big on equality, and we thought, well we’ll just keep our own names.”

However, then they considered children.

“How do you explain to future children, why do you have Daddy’s name or Mommy’s name?” Jason asks.

They also considered hyphenated names, but decided no. When the children get married, they could end up with several hyphens.

The idea of creating a new, shared name came from a movie Kristine watched.

“I would like to note he has more letters than I do, but percentage wise it’s pretty close,” says Kristine with a grin.

Both she and Jason emphasize that although the combined name is right for them, they don’t judge what other people choose.

“I don’t think any person takes what your identity will be as a married person lightly,” says Kristine. “I have friends who took their husband’s name, but they were still as thoughtful and intentional as our decision.”

The couple considered keeping their current names for work, given that they’ve both worked hard to build a name in their respective fields. However, Kristine has recently changed careers. Jason is soon to become a professional engineer, so he must use his legal name on documents. The time seemed right.

Jason says the new name appeals to his sense of fairness.

“It goes back to the dad basically selling his daughter – now you’re his property and you have the same last name. Just because it’s the way it was always done and traditionally, it doesn’t make it right.”

Jason said while his family had a little resistance at the beginning because it was a new idea and there were thoughts of losing his heritage, they now understand.

“If you do it the ‘normal’ way, you’re still losing that heritage,” he says, noting that on a family tree, the woman’s birth name is normally in brackets, so her heritage disappears. But with a new, shared name, the woman’s and the man’s birth names would be in brackets.

Both Jason and Kristine say most people express positive reactions to their plans.

“My co-workers said do it quickly so we can use you as an example,” Jason smiles.

Kristine points out there are lots of logical solutions to any problems people present to them. She notes that a few people have said creating a new name “is way out there, so non-traditional,” but she sees the opposite.

“It’s very traditional, having one name for a nuclear family.”

One thing that frustrates her is some people assume Jason could not possibly be okay with the plan and is only doing it because she is forcing him.

“It paints a picture of me as a monster, dominating, and creates the story and narrative that Jason doesn’t have a backbone… so it’s painful to both of us.”

A few people have said, ‘why do you care, it’s just a name?’

Kristine responds by turning the question around: “Why do you care, it’s just a name?”

She sees the plan as an evolution.

“Because my mom had already recognized there was a problem. She was one step in the evolution.”

Jason and Kristine expect to receive confirmation of their new name within two weeks. It will have cost them about $1,000 total.

Jason says it has seemed harder for him to make the change, as some clerks he encountered hadn’t done it before. But he doesn’t see himself as a groundbreaker. He says he and Kristine are both very aware of gender issues.

“I’ve never tried to follow the ‘men can’t cry,’ the stereotypical stuff. I don’t see myself as a trailblazer, I see it as what comes naturally…, what should be normal.”

Kristine sums up their decision.

“It’s about people who have identities separate from each other but who are wanting to have something that represents the partnership we have together.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

Sooke council delays vote on Whiffin Spit memorial wall

Sooke district council has again delayed a decision to erect a memorial… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read