Communityloving east enders
The parents: BJ Barone & Frank Nelson, TDSB high school teachers & bloggers Home: Semi-detached home in the upper Beaches
Kids: Milo, three
What unique advantages do city kids have?
Frank: I think for us, for a diverse gay family, I think the most diversity per square mile is here in Toronto. There are a lot of families that look like ours in our community.
How engaged are you in your community?
We’re so involved in our community. Having a smaller house, all the kids on the street play together, and we’re lucky enough to live across the street from the school. We play movies on the back of our fence. One of the perks of being a teacher is they lend us the projectors for the summer.
How is your access to health care?
Milo’s had a few health scares. We constantly talk about how lucky we are to live in a city like Toronto, which has an amazing hospital like SickKids. Milo had surgery when he was four weeks old, and they took very good care of him and us.
Do you have any safety concerns stemming from city life?
It’s a question after a shooting in a school, and it’s hard not to reflect on safety in bigger cities. We had a neighbourhood kid one night last winter write “f**k LGBT” on our car. I don’t know if it’s only being city-bound, but you feel unsafe — and you worry more about safety — when you have a child. We probably should have more of those talks, but we’ve been more worried about him running across the street and other things — those have been huge safety concerns.
What has it been like sharing your journey as a gay family on your blog?
BJ: After our birth photo went viral, we decided to start the blog, Family is About Love. We wanted more visibility for gay families out there. We have the same problems and issues as straight families in terms of disciplining and how much iPad time Milo gets.… We’re different, but we’re the same.