I say good news, but sadly, it’s not clear whether the little Penguin itself recognises what a momentous occasion this is:
The Gentoo chick, which is yet to be named, will not be characterised as male or female by keepers at the South Bank aquarium.
Raising a genderless chick will be a first for Sea Life, but they said it is “completely natural” for penguins in the wild to develop genderless identities as they grow into mature adults.
An adopted Gentoo chick raised by a same-sex penguin couple will become the world’s first penguin to not have its gender assigned.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 10, 2019
This is, of course, a tremendous day for progress in the Penguin world, because not only is the little guy – sorry – little thing, the world’s first non-binary penguin, but it is also the very first penguin born to a lesbian penguin couple:
The four-month old chick has been raised by a female penguin couple after the egg, which was one of two laid by its birth mother, was moved to relieve her of the pressure of raising two chicks.
The trouble will come here, of course, when the other Penguin chicks decide to start misgendering the little critter, and the UK police have to intervene, and make some arrests.
As Niamh reported the other day, UK police take this kind of thing very seriously:
The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed that it is pressing formal charges against a 38-year old mother after she described a transgender activist as a man on Twitter.
Kate Scottow is accused of malicious communications after she tweeted that transgender activist Stephanie Hayden, who was born male but now identifies as a woman, was a man.
Arresting penguins, on the other hand, might cause difficulties, because the birds are unlikely to understand their right to remain silent. There might also be issues, of course, if members of the public start showing up and misgendering the penguin. Whatever you do, if you go to London Zoo, make sure your small child does not loudly point at a Penguin and exclaim about how cute “he” is. You don’t want them to end up in the joint.
Other problems might arise when the Penguin is old enough to choose its own gender. Keepers have not yet developed a method of communicating with Gentoo Penguins that allows them to determine which gender preference, if any, the birds have.
Nonetheless, such criticisms should be set aside for one day. It is a momentous occasion for Penguin-Kind, and a truly inspiring example of the kind of changes Penguins can make in their society when they are exposed, for just a few short months, to the kind of absolute nutcases currently running much of the western world.