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

Saanich golfer and top B.C. junior and juvenile player Willy Bishop was named to the 2021 Canadian National Junior Golf Squad on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy Jenny Bishop)
Saanich student to tee-off with national golf team

Willy Bishop, 16, named to Canadian National Junior Golf Squad in 2021

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Four new COVID-19 cases added to Saanich Peninsula Hospital outbreak

Inital round of patient testing is complete, staff testing continues

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience that has been cancelled due to COVID-19. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Victoria Wonderland drive-thru show cancelled due to COVID-19

Organizers hope to host a similar event, if restrictions allow, in the new year

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Popular Swiftsure yacht race cancelled for second consecutive year

International sailing race hopes to run its 77th event in 2022

Andrew McBride is among those who deck out for Sea of Lights floating ship parade annually. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic sinks Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Sea of Lights

Oak Bay club encourages donations to the charities event supports

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Watch Messiah at home with the Sooke Philharmonic

Concert available to stream Dec. 12

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read