"With my husband Glenn Miya and our sons, we live everyday honestly and openly. Hopefully, we show society that our family is more like theirs than they thought, and that they're more like us than they imagined."
Steven Llanusa has charged himself with the task of integrating awareness about gay families in schools and communities.
This mission combines two of his greatest passions - education, where he has served as a teacher for more than 20 years and is currently a board member of Claremont Unified School District - and gay parenting rights, where he is a father of three adopted sons with his husband Glenn Miya. His interest in gay parenting rights set the foundation for his success as a community activist.
Currently, Mr. Llanusa is working with the Human Rights Campaign on Welcoming Schools, which addresses family diversity, gender stereotyping, bullying and name calling in elementary schools. He is also developing a workshop that could reduce bullying of students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and plans to present it to the California School Board Association next year.
Mr. Llanusa is a pioneer of gay parenting rights. After fostering a 17-year-old boy and three young brothers, Mr. Llanusa and Mr. Miya set out to become parents. In 1999, they became one of the first couples to fulfill a same-sex joint adoption in California.
With the role of being a gay father, came a greater sense of responsibility to raise awareness about gay parenting. Mr. Llanusa became involved with the nonprofit organization, Pop Luck Club (PLC). Once a grass roots parenting group based in West Hollywood for gay fathers, PLC is now the largest known gay fathers group in the world. Mr. Llanusa was PLC's board member and its first activities director, having helped organize the Pop Luck Club Resource Day.
In addition, Mr. Llanusa has organized several community events, including those for the Family Pride Coalition of Pomona Valley and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Family Services.
Mr. Llanusa and his family have been featured on KCET's, "Life & Times," Australia's LOGO TV Series, "Out and About," and the documentaries, "We the People," and "13 Love Stories."
As a board of director of UCLA's Alumni Association, Mr. Llanusa successfully authored and implemented a bylaw regarding inclusion of sexual orientation into the board's non-discriminatory policy. He is also president of the Claraboya Homeowner's Association.
Mr. Llanusa was named Foster Parent of the Month by Refugio Para Los Niños and Most Valuable Parent by the Claremont High School Wrestling Team Boosters. He also received the Honorary Service Award from the California PTA for his volunteer work providing access to technology for at-risk students.