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  WINDY CITY TIMES

New initiative challenges non-inclusive school forms
From a news release
2012-09-20

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Washington DC - (Sep. 20, 2012) - Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports and represents the one million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and their two million children, today encouraged parents of school children to participate in "Snap It & Send It" - a campaign to bring attention to thousands of forms that fail to recognize the diversity of LGBT-headed families.

Family Equality Council noted that across the country, schools and after-school activities are requiring parents to fill out forms for their children that ask for a child's "mother" and "father," and fail to account for other family structures.

"This isn't just about LGBT-headed families — this is also about outdated systems that don't accurately reflect today's families," said Brent Wright, Family Equality Council's Director of Programs. "Whether we're LGBT parents, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, or foster parents — we all deserve to be recognized."

"Snap It and Send It" is a unique nationwide call to action. The program encourages 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 are encouraged to take out their digital cameras or Smartphone and Snap a photo of the form.

They should then Send the picture to forms@familyequality.org and include a description of how the outdated form is impacting their family. The organization will use the examples as it works with agencies to make necessary changes on critical forms.

Wright cited examples of harms cause by non-inclusive forms:

These forms wrongly suggest to individuals filling out the forms, as well as those processing them, that only children with a mother and a father are eligible to file the form and access the program/services.

These perceived requirements cause families processing delays and denials.

These outdated forms send a hurtful message, daily, of symbolic exclusion from American life to the millions of children and adults.

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 provides resources to empower parents to work with businesses, organizations, agencies and groups in their communities to better reflect diverse family structures on forms. Those resources are available online at www.familyequality.org/forms.


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