Another Gay Penguin Couple Adopt, Hatch Egg
A pair of male penguins in a German zoo have taken in an egg that was rejected by its biological parents, hatched the egg, and now are rearing the chick, according to a June 3 article carried at BBC News.
Such behavior is not unknown. In many animal species, from fruit flies to birds to primates, same-gender sexual contact and social bonding (including long term pair bonding) have been observed.
In the case of Z and Vielpunkt, two penguins at the zoo in Bremerhaven, the pair had been observed attempting to hatch a stone. When a male-female pair of penguins at the zoo rejected their own egg, keepers gave it to Z and Vielpunkt, who tended and hatched the egg and now, a month after its hatching, continue to care for the chick.
The BBC article noted that four years ago the same zoo, which houses three pairs of male penguins exhibiting mating and bonding behavior, tried to coax the males into a heterosexual relationship by introducing four female penguins. The zoo made this attempt because the particular species of penguin in question is endangered.
However, those attempts were suspended when the male penguins showed no interest in the females. Meantime, GLBT activists protested that the zoo’s strategy constituted an attempt to force the birds into relationships they would not naturally have entered into on their own.
The article included a snippet from a statement made by the zoo. "Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their ’Easter gift’ and got straight down to raising it."
Added the statement, "Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do.
"The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring."
In the United States, one celebrated penguin pairing, between Roy and Silo, male penguins living in New York’ Central Park Zoo, served as the basis for the children’s book "And Tango Makes Three."
The book, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, had its origins in a newspaper account of how the two male penguins were observed not only nesting together, but also caring for a small rock as though it were an egg.
Anti-gay sentiment has led to "And Tango Makes Three" being at the top of the "challenged books" list for three consecutive years.
Said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the deputy director of the American Library Association, which publishes an annual list of challenged books, of the title’s top spot on the most recent list of challenged books, "Books that address same-sex parenting, or same-sex relationships, are particularly prone to challenges in the U.S."
Added Caldwell-Stone, "In the case of ’And Tango Makes Three,’ there are many parents who believe it inappropriate to teach children anything at all about homosexual relationships, even in the form of a picture book about a true story."
Those who view homosexuality as unnatural or a matter of "choice" in human beings reject the idea that homosexuality is observable in other animal species.
Some claim that homosexual relations between animals in a zoo setting proves that homosexuality is the result of environmental pressures or an artificial grouping together of animals of the same gender.
Such claims, however, do not take into account episodes of same-sex couples among penguins who live in zoos with both male and female penguins, or observed instances of animals exhibiting same-gender sexual behavior in the wild. Indeed, same-sex bird pairings have been observed in the wild, with birds of the same gender nesting together.
Others reject the idea that animal behavior has any bearing on human conduct, although humans, like other animal species, can be viewed scientifically as responding to four basic impulses rooted in the brain’s pre-existing functions. The sex drive is one such function; human beings who are gay say that their attraction to the same gender is a spontaneous, deeply felt, and natural part of their identities, and not something they decided upon.
Critics, however, resort to the argument that if humans, like animals, can be gay as a matter of intrinsic nature, then other animal impulses that would be socially rejected if expressed by human beings might also find their way into polite company.
Once the conversational participants at conservative chat site Free Republic.com got past making puns on the word "rear" (as in to rear young, the correct word for tending to human offspring, as opposed to livestock, which is raised), the conversational thread picked reflected just such objections.
Wrote one chat participant, "Leave it to degenerate minds to stamp penguins as ’gay’ because they feel the drive to protect the endangered young penguins."
Added the chat participant, " I lost my tolerance of the homosexual degenerates long ago. And they are building up a heck of a lot of negative karma with the ever increasing insistance [sic] they be accepted as normal.
"They aren’t and never will be without medical help."
Answered another dryly, "I say the penguins are confused, which is kind of saying the same thing."
Another wrote, "Animals of various species do all sorts of wierd [sic] behaviors, including mating behaviors.