Things haven't been looking up lately for homosexual animals. For starters, a scene that made headlines Friday called to mind an actual episode of the sitcom Parks and Recreation, when Leslie Knope (comedian Amy Poehler) was honored at a gay bar and vilified by members of the Society for Family Stability Foundation after she married off two male penguins at the zoo. In her defense, she didn't know the penguins were batting for the same team and just wanted to do something "cute."
Now, the Toronto Star has reported that another gay penguin relationship is on the rocks (in real life).
The Toronto Zoo plans to separate the males Buddy and Pedro in order to breed them with females and ensure the survival of African penguins. This doesn't reek of the same blatant homophobia the fictional Pawnee, Indiana penguins faced, but go try telling that to the seemingly happy couple. Penguins, unlike most animals and most humans, partner for life.
Recently as well, SF Weekly brought to light a Meetup.com group called BAGDO, short for Bay Area Gay Dog Owners. We weren't sure at first whether "Gay" modified "Dog" or "Owners." But eventually we learned that, while most of its members tend to joke that their animals are also gay, there are those members who swear their pets are attracted to the same sex. Scientists don't usually use the word "gay" to describe animals that exhibit homosexual tendencies, but BAGDO's description suggested that its members had no problem with it, saying it was "a group of individuals who either have gay dogs (you know if your dog is) or are gay themselves (this is true for most members)."
Then, in yet another setback, we received word that the BAGDO site will be shutting down in two weeks unless a new leader rises to the occasion. BAGDO's organizer chose to relinquish his position for unspecified reasons. As of now, it appears that BAGDO is the only group anywhere really to account for these marginalized pets.
And in other bad news, the Huffington Post in San Francisco took it upon itself to do The Onion's job by writing a parody last week announcing that San Francisco was going to be home to a gay zoo.
Oddly, though, there is a site that purports to be the home of the "gay zoo" in San Francisco. SF Weekly called the number listed on the site, which directed us to the actual San Francisco Zoo. We asked whether the two are connected at all, and we are waiting to hear back.
You can bet Buddy and Pedro will be among those animals who won't be amused if and when the "Gay Zoo" turns out to be a sham.