Transgender Jewish author and educator S. Bear Bergman, who recently launches the LGBTQ children’s book subscription Flamingo Rampant Book Club, found warmth and welcome over Korean kimchee in Toronto
It sounds like the opening of a joke: two gay dads and a six-month-old walk into a bar (and grill)! Less funny when it’s the only place open on a freezing Good Friday, and downright humourless when the simmering hostility of the other patrons means abandoning your juice, cancelling the soup and heading back into the cold.
Shortly after that, we decided to move back to Toronto, where, among other benefits, we figured we’d be more likely to find queer-friendly establishments (and have more restaurant choices on stat holidays).
Queer-friendliness turned out not to be a problem. We live on the edge of the Church-Wellesley village and can have any number of cuisines in the company of as many homos as we’d like. The problem, it turns out, is that these restaurants don’t like having a squalling small human visit their unimpeachable decor – and smear things on it.
Unwilling to resign ourselves to a half-decade at East Side Mario’s, we started experimenting. We looked for places with other children but no insipid “children’s menu” of chicken nuggets and PB&J, places that were noisy but where the music wasn’t too loud, places with interesting vegetarian options (my husband is an ethical vegetarian and has been since he asked his parents for permission as his 12th birthday present), places where we felt comfortable as a queer couple.
This turned out to be a tall order. Joints where we liked the food often weren’t child-friendly, and the overwhelmingly straight vibe and lacklustre food at others was a turnoff. We started ordering in yet another pizza when work and caring for our son, Stanley, left us too exhausted for proper cookery.