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

Construction has begun on the new Eagle Mountain elementary school in Abbotsford. (Screengrab from video by CHP Architects)
Construction begins on new Eagle Mountain elementary school in Abbotsford

School, including childcare spaces, is set to open in September 2022

Bill Hireen joined Remembrance Day celebrations in Abbotsford in 2019. The veteran and long-time civic supporter passed away on Dec. 31, 2020. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Long-time Abbotsford city council supporter dies of COVID-19

Bill Hireen was a frequent visitor to council and police board meetings

Uber Eats has announced that it is now delivering food orders in Abbotsford and Chilliwack. (Submitted photo by Justin Walker)
Uber Eats announces expansion into Abbotsford

Food-delivery company is staring with 60 local restaurants

Nakota Hinksman had been reported missing in Abbotsford, but has since been located.
UPDATE: Missing teen with autism has been located in Abbotsford

Nakota Hinksman, 18, had been missing since 3:20 a.m. on Tuesday

NHL Central Scouting has ranked three Abbotsford hockey talents as likely to be drafted in 2021. (Twitter photo)
Trio of Abbotsford hockey talents placed on NHL watch list

Abbotsford’s Chiasson, Milne and Sward all ranked as C grade prospects for 2021 NHL draft

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

Most Read