Sometimes it’s the small stuff.
This past week our son brought home yet another school form for us to complete with the same information we’ve provided too many times before. [Why not request this information digitally, password protect it, and then update on an as-needed basis… different discussion for another time]. I have lined out “mother” every time before with varying degrees of frustration.
This time I got angry. This time was different. After all, we do live in California, we expect better. But it’s also because despite recent strides in marriage equality, we are witnessing just how quickly progress can be rolled-back and countered.
This time IT was not “just a little thing”, or a “meaningless detail”. IT is part of the same continuum on which both North Carolina’s and Mississippi’s recent discriminatory and bigoted legislative maneuvers sit. While a very great distance separates this form’s lazy and parochial typeset from these new state laws, a gateway to learned hate and discriminatory behavior is right there on the page, and I could not ignore it this time.
Not long after I snapped a picture of the form, our son noticed the image sitting on my screen and asked me why it was there. I was both glad for the opportunity and bothered by the need to have something to explain. When I had finished, he seemed satisfied, and said, “hmmm, why doesn’t it just say parent or guardian”? That is a good question. Or why does it assume there are two parents? Why doesn’t it just simply ask for emergency contacts and let me define their relationship via another blank?
This form has no doubt been pulled out and photocopied many many times, and given the perpetually overworked public school staff, I continue to feel a need to limit my concerns and objections. But learning does not happen only inside the classroom. Waiting silently to be treated differently is unacceptable.
For LGBTQ families, being treated with fairness and simple dignity are issues that show-up in big and small ways every day. It was our experience planning our wedding that prompted David and me to open Taylor Street Favors. Much like our son’s form, signing up for wedding sites or shopping online usually required one of us to be listed as “the bride”. Same-sex couple selections were buried in drop-drowns — if at all — and were limited in selection or accented with rainbows.
We are so not about rainbows for our wedding.
We knew we could do better – and we are. Taylor Street is a site where no one is excluded. We welcome and support those who treat others with respect, regardless of gender, race, sexual-orientation, or religious affiliation. Discriminating on the basis of who we love is wrong. Excluding a family because there are two moms or two dads is wrong.
I’m sending a note along with a copy of the form to the school’s principal and asking her to look into what can be done to have the district revise its forms. As Ellen Degeneres said earlier this week, this is not politics, this is human rights.
We deserve better.
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