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Jennifer Chrisler Headshot

When Forms Discriminate

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It happens every day. Families are treated unfairly or unequally because one or both parents are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

One of the most frustrating examples of this inequality is that families are asked to fill out forms that don't reflect them. All too often, forms only have a place for a "mother" and a "father" or do not reflect the composition of our families. Often those designations serve no real purpose.

This can cause some serious problems for families beyond the obvious hassle and inconvenience:

  • 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 to 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.

Together we can change this.

We are continuing to address this issue on the federal level, and it's imperative that parents address this inequality in their own communities.

We've just launched a brand-new program designed to identify these forms and help parents fix them. Called "Snap It & Send It," it's a way for LGBT families to share forms that need to be changed to recognize all families.

Here's how it works: When you encounter a form that excludes your family, grab a copy or snap a picture. Send it to us. Forms can be sent to forms@familyequality.org. All the information you need is available at familyequality.org/forms. Download sample letters and resources designed to help you get the form fixed.

By highlighting these forms and empowering families to lobby agencies, offices, schools, and hospitals to fix them, we are taking a huge step toward ensuring full equality for the 1 million LGBT parents in our country and the 2 million children they are raising.