Family Equality Council have issued a new press release explaining the problems regarding the forms that many of us have to deal with as families. They have organized a new campaign in order to highlight that particular problem.
It is best if they explain what they are aiming for:
Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports and represents the one million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and the two million children they are raising, today announced the launch of “Snap It & Send It” – a campaign to bring attention to thousands of forms that fail to recognize the diversity of LGBT families.
The forms, utilized at the federal, state and local level, typically ask for information on an individual’s “mother,” “father,” or “mother’s maiden name” and fail to account for other family structures. And in most instances, the “mother” and “father” designation that is requested serve no real purpose.
“If you are an LGBT parent, chances are you have been frustrated by the forms your family is asked to fill out, maybe at your doctor’s office or at your child’s school,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. “Typically these are forms that have only a place for one mother or one father and don’t reflect the composition of our families. What this says to our families is that we are invisible and that the diversity of our families is not recognized.”
“Snap It and Send It” is a unique nationwide call to action. The program will encourage families to use modern technology to speak up about the antiquated forms that they come across every day—at schools, soccer clubs, girl scouts, day care providers and doctors’ offices. If parents come across a non-inclusive form, they should take out their digital cameras or Smartphone and Snap a photo of the form.
They should then Send the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a description of how the forms are impacting their family. The organization will use the examples as it works with agencies to make necessary changes on critical forms.
Chrisler cited examples of harms cause by non-inclusive forms:
The parent fields on these forms pose significant challenges for the millions of Americans with two mothers or two fathers.
They wrongly suggest to individuals filling out the forms, as well as those processing them, that only individuals with different-sex parents are eligible to file the form.
They cause tangible harm through processing delays and denials.
They send a hurtful message of symbolic exclusion from American life to the millions of children and adults with same-sex parents.
Family Equality Council has been working across several federal agencies to modernize forms. In a survey of 20,000 publicly available forms, it has identified 70 that should be updated to include language inclusive of all families.
In addition to asking parents to highlight examples of non-inclusive forms, Family Equality Council will be providing them a list of resources to help them lobby businesses, organizations, agencies and groups in their own communities to reflect diverse family structures on forms. Those resources will soon be available online at www.familyequality.org/forms.