Flat White

What sex is your penguin?

11 September 2019

6:03 PM

11 September 2019

6:03 PM

Humanity has anthropomorphised animals since time immemorial, from hunters-gatherers to Disney, so no wonder that contemporary madness is slowly seeping into the animal world (or rather being put there by humans):

The same-sex penguin couple Rocky and Marama made headlines this year after adopting a chick at the Sea Life London Aquarium, and now the longtime duo is making history — by parenting what may be the world’s first “genderless” penguin chick.

The 4-month-old chick, who has yet to be named, “will be the first of its kind in the history of the famous London aquarium not to be characterized as male or female,” according to Sea Life.

“While the decision may ruffle a few feathers, gender neutrality in humans has only recently become a widespread topic of conversation,” Graham McGrath, the aquarium’s general manager, said in a statement. “However, it is completely natural for penguins to develop genderless identities as they grow into mature adults.”

Despite this, however, newborn penguins are routinely given gendered names and colored tags at Sea Life — until now, that is. The adopted chick of Rocky and Marama has been tagged with a “gender-neutral” purple band for identification purposes.

There is, of course, no such thing as a genderless penguin chick or adult penguin, if by gender you mean sex. There are male and female penguins and there is no evidence that when a young penguin goes to college and gets exposed to gender theory it suddenly realises it’s a transpenguin, having previously grown up in the “wrong body”. Similarly, penguins don’t have “genderless identities” or any other for that matter; identities being a function of self-consciousness and, as we are discovering in recent times, a rather overactive self-consciousness.

All this is, of course, different to the question of sexuality, since same-sex pairings and activity do indeed occur in many different species (as with the gay step-parents Rocky and Marama), though relatively sporadically, since species with significant same-sex attraction at the expense of procreation would quickly become extinct.

It’s one thing to be woke about humans, but the Seal Life London Aquarium has now gone full woke on an animal, assuming its genderlessness.

Inadvertently, however, they have created a new problem: if we don’t know what gender the new chick is, how can we know if it’s oppressed or not?

P.S. “Chick”, BTW, is a can be associated with a sexist and gendered term. The Aquarium should cease to use the word altogether.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where this piece also appears.

Illustration: DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox.

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