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.

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

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar is closing its doors until further notice after sexual assault allegations against an employee surfaced on social media. (Google Streetview)
Sexual assault allegations temporarily closing a second Victoria restaurant

Social media posts accuse an E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar employee of sexual assault

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring is calling for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Why it’s ‘urgent’ B.C. teachers get vaccinated from COVID-19 before summer

President Teri Mooring says not enough is being done to prevent virus transmission in schools

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Most Read