Assimilationist Gay Penguin Parents Living Heteronormative Fantasy

Congratulations to Elmer, Lima, and child

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) in South Africa

In another urgent, heartwarming, uplifting reminder that love is love is love is love, a New York zoo is celebrating its first penguin chick successfully fostered by a same-sex couple.

In December, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse gave a fertilized egg to male Humboldt penguins Elmer and Lima — a tuxedoed pair who had committed to each other in the fall for the current breeding season — to give the embryo a better chance of survival, as some biological parents have a history of accidentally breaking their eggs. Well, accidents happen.

The bond between Elmer (born in 2016) and Lima (born in 2019; hello, May-December romance!) inspired the zoo’s officials to give them the LGBTQ penguins the chance to foster.

“Some pairs, when given a dummy egg, will sit on the nest but leave the egg to the side and not incubate it correctly, or they’ll fight for who is going to sit on it when,” zoo director Ted Fox said in a news release. But Penguin Social Services deemed Elmer and Lima “exemplary in every aspect of egg care,” from taking turns incubating the egg until it hatched on January 1, to keeping the new chick warm and fed in the weeks since.

Humboldt penguins are listed as a vulnerable species; breeding programs like the kind run by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo are part of an effort to produce more chicks and ensure its survival. The species is named after the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who was, interestingly enough, gay as hell.

Same-sex penguin pairs have raised chicks in zoos all over the place. One of the first celebrity gay penguin couples was Roy and Silo, two male penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo, whose rearing of a daughter, Tango, eventually inspired a children’s book. The beautiful queering of penguin parenthood has continued at the Oceanogràfic Valencia aquarium in Spain, the Berlin Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, and now the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

According to the zoo, if all goes well, Elmer and Lima could foster future eggs, too. Love — and the gay agenda — continues to reign supreme.