REFOCUS BY GERARD VELDHOVEN
How time has marched on, and as one observes the changes that have taken place one will be astonished by the fact how fast differences in family units have come in recent years.
Recently out of Toronto we hear and see the beautiful story and picture of two gay men becoming fathers to a baby boy named Milo. This is a story that bears witness to the fact gay and lesbian parents are increasing in numbers. In this touching and emotional account we learn the two men are purely overwhelmed by the fact they now are the proud dads of a baby.
Frank Nelson and BJ Barone, both teachers in Toronto, had the baby through surrogacy, one common manner towards parenthood. A picture was taken by birth photographer Lindsay Foster and was posted on the Internet. The emotional image shows Frank and BJ holding the baby while the umbilical cord was still attached. It was suggested they remove their shirts so that it would help Milo’s heart rate. The two men are shedding tears of pure joy in the photograph while holding the baby in their arms.
Nelson recalls the following: “I think it has been a gift to everyone who sees that photo and knows that it does not matter if it’s a man or a woman or a gay couple, anyone would feel utter joy in that moment.” He continues, “The photo reminded us of such a wonderful message; that love comes in all shapes and sizes and sexual orientations and races. The amount of love we’ve had from this photo is overwhelming.”
I wonder how many readers have watched this story in the newspapers or online. This is an account that bears repeating over and over again as it demonstrates the bond that develops between parents and their children, regardless of sexual orientation. Many in the gay community are parents through adoption, surrogacy and other methods, including children from previous relationships. The methods matter little, but the love expressed is phenomenal, beautiful and very real.
These are not isolated stories by any means. This happened to be more in the limelight as the future fathers were determined to normalize this wonderful step to fatherhood and share it with the country. I salute you Nelson and BJ because you have made a huge decision to become parents and you succeeded in bringing this story front and centre to not only the Canadian public, but also around the globe. Comments and information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.