New L.A.-Based Campaign Encourages Support for Gay Fathers

The Los Angeles-based group “Pop Luck Club” – which functions as a source of support for current and prospective gay fathers and their families – has launched an inspiring ad campaign called “Raise a Child” in hopes of reducing stigma around parenting. The campaign’s public service announcements were introduced to local radio earlier this week and will continue throughout the month, and its posters, which feature family portraits of gay men and their families, are being promoted at transit shelters throughout the Los Angeles region. The club hopes to gain awareness and thereby increase its membership as a result of these efforts, creating a larger network of supportive gay parents. The nonprofit, volunteer-run Pop Luck Club is the largest known organization of gay fathers in the world. It was founded in 1998 and continues to grow, now consisting of hundreds of member families. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the families and prospective families “through mutual support, community collaboration, and public understanding,” according to its website. The club provides information regarding adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. For couples that already have children, the club helps parents facilitate their children’s social interactions, share positive images of parenting with the larger community, and act as positive mentors. The campaign’s press release highlights several voices that have been essential to the Pop Luck Club’s impact. “We make lunches for our kids, get them to music and karate lessons… just like every family,” says Richard Valenza, co-president of the Club.  He adds, “With this campaign, we are putting a real face on gay parenting.” The Club schedules or manages play dates, discussion and support groups, news groups, and other events and resources for gay fathers. “It is our hope that more gay men will be inspired and enabled to create the loving families they deserve,” said Dr. Tony Zimbardi, a Club board member. Board member John Ireland adds: “Growing up, many of us felt sadness that coming out as gay would end our dreams of parenting. I now know that becoming a father and providing a loving home for our child is the most important and rewarding thing I have ever done.” The club’s multimedia campaign will continue throughout January and February. GLAAD applauds this campaign and encourages the community to show its support.