It’s the Little Things

January 6th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  4 Comments

passportFrom my friend Katherine GB: news that the U.S. Passport Agency is now changing its application for minors to use the words ‘parent’ and ‘parent’, instead of ‘mother’ and ‘father’. This is the kind of thing that conservatives HATE (yes, yet another thing), because it would seem to deny that there is such a thing as a mother and father. But, as Dana Rudolph, who has been advocating for this change and who blogs at Mombian (yes, I know, mom+lesbian, but the name still sorta reminds me of zombies) puts it:

For those of us tired of crossing out “Father” and writing in “Mother” every time we fill out a school, camp, or medical form, the passport change is welcome news. Writing in the correction is not the biggest hassle in the world, but it’s another reminder of how our families are marginalized.

So it’s not about proving or denying the existence of traditional mom-and-dad marriages. It’s about not labeling other families as aberrant. And, as Rudolph points out, the fact that the US Passport Agency is making the change will give a lot of other lesser bureaucrats the signal that they should rethink their own forms and processes.

It all reminds me a bit of official Cuban ID cards, their carnet, which has a rather remarkable category. In the ‘hair’ section, the choices are basically “good” or “kinky”. That is, if you have straight (European) hair, it’s “good”. If you have curly (African) hair, it’s “bad”.

Just saying: official IDs can say a lot about how a country and a culture discriminates. So congratulations out there, all you Mombians and Dadays.


  1. Marlena says:

    January 6th, 2011at 12:54 pm(#)

    Very cool. As someone who just had to do a lot of hoop dancing just to get our toddler’s passport, I’m all in favor of making things easier and being able to acknowledge the whole fam damily.

    BTW – can you recommend any travel resources for Japan, specifically Okinawa? Tips on managing jet lag for a toddler?

  2. Nathan says:

    January 6th, 2011at 3:59 pm(#)

    Okinawa sounds great. The only two things I can say: drink lots of Awomori, and there is no cure for jetlag. We took an 18 month old from NYC to Japan, and she spent the first week sleeping all day and wanting to party all night. Which, come to think of it, is like keeping alcoholic’s hours. So to repeat: drink lots of Awomori.

  3. Marlena says:

    January 6th, 2011at 4:48 pm(#)

    Thanks, and noted!

  4. dadwagon says:

    January 6th, 2011at 6:42 pm(#)

    I forgot to add that week two was great, no sleep problems or anything. So for us at least it was a six-day adjustment…

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