Sunday, March 18, 2012

One inclusive form at a time

The Family Equality Council has a new program to encourage same sex parents to take photos of forms that refer to mother and father and send them in to FEC.  I wish FEC was thinking a little more broadly, since parent/parent doesn't seem that much more inclusive to me than mother/father.

In any case, this program encouraged me to send the email below, which I've been meaning to send for months.

Dear [Heath care provider name]

I would like to know if the [name] clinic would alter its paperwork to make it more inclusive of varied family structures.  Currently the paperwork ask for information about "mother" and "father."  As you know, these categories exclude our family.  The current forms do not reflect the legal realities of [our state] families, as two moms or two dads can now be listed on an [our state] birth certificate, as is the case for me and [Badger].  Perhaps more importantly, the forms do not reflect the social and cultural realities of many NICU follow up families.  Many, perhaps a majority, of [our city] families do not consist of mother/father/child, rather, children are being raised by stepparents, foster parents, guardians, and kin.  

Given these realities, it seems imprecise to limit a caregiver's relationship to a child to either mother or father.  I would suggest removing the mother and father designation, and instead asking for "name" and "relationship to child." Since the child's genetic history may be important to understanding some conditions, an additional box asking about the caregiver's biological relationship to the child could also be useful.

The Family Equality Council is currently involved in a campaign to address exclusionary forms.  I'm providing a link below that gives additional information.


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