LGBT parents and their children celebrate “International Family Equality Day” at a picnic below the Hollywood sign

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Event is one of many gatherings by LGBT-led families around the world on May 6.

LGBT-led families will gather at a picnic in Hollywood on May 6, part of International Family Equality Day.

This Sunday, local gay and lesbian parents and their families will gather at a community picnic at Lake Hollywood Park, just below the iconic Hollywood sign to take part in a world-wide celebration of LGBT-led families. In Germany, families will tour the Stuttgart Zoo. In Switzerland, it’s lunch in Parc des Bastions, overlooking Lake Geneva’s landmark water fountain. New Yorkers will gather in Times Square and similar events are taking place in Helsinki, Toronto, Minneapolis (MN), Dover (NH) and Albuquerque (NM).

A professional photographer will offer free family portraits to those who attend the Los Angeles event. There will also be a kids' playground, jumper, arts & crafts, food and a group hike up the mountain to view the Hollywood sign and the surrounding Los Angeles scenery. The event is free and open to all LGBT parents and their families.

“Today is a chance for our kids to gather with other families like ours and enjoy a day in the sun,” says Michael Troynel, Board member of The Pop Luck Club, a local non-profit organization sponsoring the event. Its mission is to advance the well-being of gay prospective parents, gay parents and their children. The group boasts hundreds of member families and recently celebrated its 500th child. Troynel and his husband Jason have raised seven children ranging from 7-22 years old.

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, children are being raised in over one million LGBT-headed households. This multi-city collaboration among LGBT parenting groups to produce “International Family Equality Day” is the first of its kind.

While such groups have existed in the U.S., Canada and many Western European nations for a decade, representing tens of thousands of families, many new “Rainbow Family” organizations have been created in recent years in less supportive, even repressive countries. Regardless of different legal, political and social circumstances, the dramatic increase in the numbers of LGBT people who choose to raise children is a global phenomenon.

“I see this day as a chance for gay and lesbian moms and dads to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world.” says Rich Valenza, President of The Pop Luck Club. "In many parts of the world, gay parents and our children face extra challenges. By raising visibility, we hope to educate our neighbors and the world that our families and children are very much like theirs.” Troynel adds, “Parenting is not always a walk in the park… but today, I guess it is!”

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