In honor of Pride month, the London Zoo proudly featured gay resident penguins Ronnie and Reggie, who have been together since 2014.
The zoo marked their enclosure with a banner declaring:
"Some penguins are gay, get over it."
The phrase reflected Stonewall's similar "Get Over It" campaign.
Unfortunately, not everyone celebrated the two Homboldt penguins with a "Yasss!"
The controversy on social media began when the ZSL London Zoo's Twitter page wrote:
"Penguin Beach is home to the Zoo's most famous same-sex couple, Ronnie and Reggie, and our #penguins are joining in on the #Pride celebrations! Discover more about our pride-themed activities at the Zoo!"
Penguin Beach is home to the Zoo's most famous same-sex couple, Ronnie and Reggie, and our #penguins are joining in… https://t.co/bWjBPQ68ui— ZSL London Zoo (@ZSL London Zoo)1561548506.0
Catholic journalist and commentator Caroline Farrow insisted the zoo refrain from subjecting children to what she deemed was an offensive agenda.
She asked like-minded followers to think about the following:
"Imagine taking your 6 year old to London zoo and them asking you which penguins are gay?"
She contradicted herself after saying the pushback wasn't due to "hatred."
"It's nonsense like this which is causing a pushback. Which isn't hatred but people saying enough. Stop pushing your values on my children."
Imagine taking your 6 year old to London zoo and them asking you which penguins are gay? 🙄 It’s nonsense like this… https://t.co/hU8SZRqBpu— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561670846.0
She tasked followers with imagining another scenario.
Imagine the reaction of the National Secular Society or the British Humanists if London zoo had a sign saying some… https://t.co/rIUmhdaoPW— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561671034.0
And she contradicted herself again after stating that zoos are for "fun and quality time together."
I don’t know about you but when I take the kids out to the zoo, it’s for fun and quality time together. Which doesn… https://t.co/7NogFleE0P— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561671483.0
Apparently, "rubber dog" costumes are all the rage at Pride events.
What are these parents who take their kids to Pride thinking of? “Some men get very happy and excited when dressed… https://t.co/VDvFGOBTy8— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561673052.0
Twitter schooled her on how positive and uplifting Pride can be.
@CF_Farrow Have you actually ever been to Pride, Caroline? @PrideBrighton is a very family friendly event. We watch… https://t.co/EJgWXigLGU— Charlotte John (@Charlotte John)1561891049.0
@CF_Farrow biology isn’t politics, dimwit.— Buburubu (@Buburubu)1561802460.0
They asked her to imagine a few things that are less diabolical about the love birds.
@CF_Farrow Imagine telling your six year old that no one should care about it because all penguins are free to choo… https://t.co/13qLxV9Uu4— @RedLabourGent#JC4PM2019 (@@RedLabourGent#JC4PM2019)1561911373.0
@CF_Farrow Children ask all sorts of random questions, the correct response would be "I'm not sure, but it doesn't… https://t.co/IOD61r3ABD— MiddleAgedGeek (@MiddleAgedGeek)1561734388.0
As a species, humans can learn a few things from animals.
@CF_Farrow Homosexuality exists in all known animals , it's only humans that have an issue with it. Bigoted, narrow-minded humans...— Ray Gillette 🏳️🌈 (@Ray Gillette 🏳️🌈)1561896189.0
We've had enough.
Caroline was not finished with her rant.
She backed her previous claim by reiterating that families are subjected to the zoo's "confrontational propaganda."
The point being deliberately missed here is that this sign forces families to discuss a topic with their children t… https://t.co/dJCD0ypbCE— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561851614.0
You know families just want to enjoy a relaxing day out. Not be subject to confrontational propaganda forcing them… https://t.co/lo58oRQA15— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561851919.0
Reverend Kate tried to show Caroline the light.
@CF_Farrow I always found trips to zoos and farms great opportunities to talk to my children about 'the birds and t… https://t.co/RhgzuWI1qv— Revd Kate O'Sullivan SCP (@Revd Kate O'Sullivan SCP)1561937715.0
But she chose to remain in the dark and underestimated her autistic child's capacity for understanding and acceptance.
@KateOSu72481106 With respect Kate, one of my children has autism. This means she is very obsessive and literal min… https://t.co/xdQCkggK4B— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561938020.0
@CF_Farrow Yep, my 26 year old is autistic too, but is very inclusive because she knows what it is like to be margi… https://t.co/KuHYnSkLzt— Revd Kate O'Sullivan SCP (@Revd Kate O'Sullivan SCP)1561938403.0
@KateOSu72481106 I know my children. I also know that political messaging just gets people’s backs up and doesn’t h… https://t.co/k9MWNHHDcX— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561938803.0
@CF_Farrow I don't think it is 'political' to want to be treated with respect and acceptance.— Revd Kate O'Sullivan SCP (@Revd Kate O'Sullivan SCP)1561939063.0
She exhibited hatred through hatred.
And as far as she was concerned, it was game over.
Spare me the virtue signalling about gay penguins. Animals do not exhibit human sexuality. End of. Other people a… https://t.co/cwGO2xL84w— Caroline Farrow (@Caroline Farrow)1561889715.0
A year after the two Homboldt penguins started their courtship in 2014, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an abandoned egg and raised Kyton until he left the nest.
The London Zoo remains prideful of the happy couple.
According to a statement from the zoo's spokesperson:
"They remain as strong as ever and are often found snuggled up in their nest box together."
"Visitors will be able to learn about gender and mating in the animal kingdom at a Pride-themed talk, where they'll discover just how common same-sex pairings are – from penguins and pandas to goats and giraffes."
Ronnie and Reggie are not the only penguins to raise a chick. In New York's Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo famously raised Tango. The story of Roy and Silo's parenthood became the award-winning best-selling children's book, And Tango Makes Three, available here as a picture book, as a soft cover book and as a board book.
"The heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family. At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own."