Gay penguin parenthood stories ruffle some conservative feathers

Sphen and Magic - Screenshot from YouTube video: Same-sex penguin couple is first in Australia to nurture foster egg

Sphen and Magic – Screenshot from YouTube video: Same-sex penguin couple is first in Australia to nurture foster egg

Everyone loves a penguin story. Well, not quite everyone, it turns out.

The media have been reporting stories about gay penguins for decades. For example, their mating rituals were highlighted in 1998 in New York’s Central Park Zoo. Male couple Roy and Silo hatched an egg from another pair and raised Tango as their own. Their partnership was presented in a children’s book, And Tango Makes Three. It has been controversial since its publication in 2005, with objections to its presence in schools and libraries ever since.

A recent instance has emerged in Florida, USA, where a school board blocked access to the book for students from Kindergarten to Grade 3. Lawsuits are being planned against the ban by families and the book's authors.

There has been a raging argument on social media:

Popular author and contributor to Wired magazine Steve Silberman was keen to draw a comparison with the gun situation in America:

Meanwhile, in Belgium, a similar story has emerged:

Back in Australia, a plan to include the relationship between male penguins Sphen and Magic in the New South Wales school curriculum has also been contentious:

Two gay penguins who successfully raised a chick together will help schoolchildren learn about same-sex relationships as part of a new syllabus aimed at kids from kindergarten to Year two.

The story of their original parenthood in October 2018 made news worldwide, including this item from ABC7 News Bay Area:

Prominent Australian conservative Lyle Shelton has suggested that Sydney’s Life Aquarium has been faking a romance between Sphen and Magic in an attempt to “indoctrinate children.” Empact News responded with this short video on Twitter:

A similar issue arose recently in Trinidad and Tobago, where a local book dealer is selling a children's book entitled “I am a Rainbow,” written by US LGBTQ+ advocate and social media star Mark Kanemura.

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