CaptCliff on Gay Penguins: Buddy and Pedro’s Forever Love

As a sex therapist I admit when I first read the story about Pedro and Buddy, two male penguins at the Toronto Zoo, I was somewhat cynical and insensitive. The fact that these two black and white guys love one another and had maintained a stable, pair-bonded monogamous relationship through thick and thin, including having cohabited together previously seemed less important then the simple fact that they are African penguins, essentially flightless birds wearing permanent tuxedos. Sure I was moved by descriptions of their unusual loyalty and fidelity, including the fact that they are willing to stand side by side 24/7 while snot nosed Canadian schoolkids and obnoxious American tourists wave at them and make endlessly rude condescending remarks, again not because they are possibly gay but because they walk and talk funny and eat smelly little fish. Human beings seem both fascinated and repelled by short, flightless birds who waddle like….well, penguins. Think of the Penguin (Danny Divito) in Batman…ewww. Our lexicon is filled with pejorative terms and phrases making light of their squat morphology and awkward gait. As a result, they take more than their share of jeers, off hand remarks and catcalls. Now, according to an article, zookeepers in Toronto are planning to split Pedro and Buddy up in an attempt to introduce them to “select female mates” for breeding purposes.  Hmmm, sounds more like conversion therapy to me, under the guise of animal husbandry. Interesting to note, PETA, the Sierra Club, and even many gay rights groups are conspicuously silent and nowhere to be seen or heard on the matter. Zoo authorities are careful to say that afterwards they plan to put Buddy and Pedro back together but an even more thorough reading shows that Buddy at 20 years old isn’t getting any younger, and his still youthful boy toy Pedro, age 10, is heterosexually speaking still a virgin, therefore especially likely to suffer from shock when he realizes what a high maintenance female in estrus is really like….I’m just sayin’ have they really thought this all the way through? There is news that a few Facebook activists are mounting (excuse the pun)  a peaceful protest to keep these rubbery lovers together and appeal to the shared “humanity” of zoo authorities. That’s like expecting Donald Rumsfeld to attend a Occupy Wall Street vigil….or maybe more to the point, trying to get Dick Cheney to ride in a float in the SF Pride Parade, with or without his daughter. Not gonna happen. Of course they say it’s all about preserving the species, which is commendable, but what about preserving our sensitivity to individual choice, dignity and diversity? These guys didn’t ask for all this hoopla and attention. We put them in the public eye and the fake concrete moat for God sakes. Cant we just show some compassion and throw them a bone-fish?

About captaincliff

Psychologist by day, insomniac Pirate blogger by night, this Child of God likes to share sarcastic social commentary as well as topsy-turvy observations about life, love and the pursuit of zaniness, a functional form of insanity in an increasingly insane world
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