If you’re familiar with the controversial children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, the idea of “gay” penguins raising a baby penguin isn’t surprising. And Tango Makes Three was based on the real-life story of two male chinstrap penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo, who became loving partners, and were eventually given a their own egg (one that was abandoned by another penguin couple) to hatch and raise. Two new African male penguins in China are now making the headlines, with their story of raising a baby penguin as well.
These two penguins, dubbed “Adam and Steve” by Time NewsFeed are at the Harbin Polar Land Zoo in northern China. After zookeepers there noticed they had paired up, they not only followed in Roy and Silo’s (the penguins at the Central Park Zoo) footsteps by giving them a baby penguin to raise, they also held a same sex wedding for the pair as a reward for being the best penguin parents at the zoo.
It’s especially refreshing and also surprising given the zoo’s location in China, which hasn’t been known particularly for protecting human rights or even gay rights.
And Tango Make Three is one of my favorite children’s books, and also one of my daughter’s favorite bedtime books. The book is notorious for also making the Top 10 Most Controversial Books of 2009. The topic of “gay” penguins is controversial not only for the same sex relationship, but the idea that animals can be homosexual which is still a debated topic among scientists and advocate groups.
Regardless of where you stand on the “gay” issue, these penguin stories remain beautiful stories of love, commitment and parenthood.