It’s the news every LGBTQ individual has been waiting for. The penguin community has finally openly embraced non-binary and genderqueer identities by allowing keepers at The Sea Life Centre in London to bring up a penguin baby as gender-neutral (presumably until they are old enough to decide themselves whether to go ahead with hormone treatment).
I am tremendously excited at this news and will be monitoring the progress of the infant over the coming years. According to experts, pre-pubescent penguins are naturally gender-neutral. You could prove this by dressing a penguin who was assigned female at birth in a pink frilly dress, they will show their discomfort by violently flipping around in the water until the dress falls off. If you attempt to force a male-assigned infant penguin to play football, they will most likely display complete indifference to the sport. In this way, penguins have always been way ahead of us when it comes to LGBTQ issues. Now they have somehow managed to communicate to their human keepers that they wish to go public with their acceptance of genderqueer culture (not sure how, but some amount of flapping their wings and squawking is possibly involved), which is a huge step forward for us all.
Ever since Happy Feet, penguins have been inaccurately portrayed as cisgender, and Mr Popper’s Penguins did little to question the complex sexual orientations of these aquatic birds. I am very much hoping a remake of both movies is on the cards in order to rectify this. Happy Feet for example, could be remade as a surreal, brooding drama, along the lines of Donnie Darko, seamlessly interspersed with the gender-critical thematic tones of Bill Elliott, in which the main character’s sense of dysphoria could be communicated to the viewer via a number of increasingly dark dreamlike vignettes, woven into the fabric of the storyline until the final sequence, where they stand on the brink of despair, contemplating the worthlessness of their existence in a world not ready to embrace their true nature, thus rendering the movie’s title of ‘Happy Feet’ deeply ironic. In contrast, Mr Popper’s Penguins could take a more upbeat approach, more of a celebration of the hardships penguins have had to overcome in their pursuit of awareness, culminating in Jim Carrey’s character organizing an emotionally uplifting Penguin Pride Parade through the streets of Manhattan with his brave little troupe of non-binary penguins marching at the front. (I’m available to contribute in an advisory role if Warner Bros. or 20th Century Fox ever decide to run with either of these ideas. Call me.)
I only hope as the infant matures and discovers their own identity, that the aquarium stays true to their word and allows them to put their preferred pronouns in their social media bios and dye their feathers pink or blue to show that they are a beautiful unique individual, completely distinctive from all the other gender-neutral pink/blue-haired penguins. Their right to loudly announce their gender-status to all visitors of the aquarium and explain in great detail how they are constantly disrespected and shunned by the rest of penguin society simply because of their non-binary identity (and not because they won’t STFU about it), should be upheld at all times.
And I’m telling you now, if they do not support their decision to become a Drag Penguin in a couple of years, then I will be marching straight over there and protesting the shit out of the aquarium until that stunning penguin is handed a feather boa and a selection of fake neon eye-lashes. Penguin Pride begins NOW.