Scratching out “Father” and writing in “Mother” is an all-too common experience for coupled lesbian moms (vice versa for gay dads). Now, the Family Equality Council (FEC) hopes to draw attention to the many forms that still exclude our families. Their “Snap It & Send It” campaign asks people to take photos or scans of non-inclusive forms and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with notes about how the forms are impacting their family.
FEC will use the examples to push for change with various agencies. They know whereof they speak. In 2010, FEC was one of the leading the organizations that helped convince the U.S. State Department to change its passport application to say “Parent/Parent” in addition to “Mother/Father.”
FEC Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler explained in a statement that non-inclusive forms cause harm in several ways:
- 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.
The saying goes that form follows function. Same-sex couples have been functioning as parents for decades. It’s time the forms catch up.