Gay penguins to stay on library shelves

Tony Grew January 11, 2007
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A children’s book featuring a young penguin and his two male parents has been returned to school libraries in North Carolina.

The saga of And Tango Makes Three made headlines across the world.

After queries from a handful of parents, fearful that the book was promoting homosexuality, staff members took copies off the shelves of four Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district elementary school libraries.

Superintendent Peter Gorman has now told the Houston Chronicle that the book will not face a formal review.

Tango and his unorthodox penguin family are back on book shelves.

He explained that school officials had contravened procedure by removing the book after queries about its suitability.

Banning books from school libraries, almost unheard of in the UK, happens frequently in America.

And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, was last year forced out of the children’s section of libraries in Savannah and St. Joseph in Missouri.

Superintendent Gorman ordered that Tango go back on the shelves in Charlotte-Mecklenburg after local paper The Charlotte Observer asked about the book’s removal.

One parent had asked that his child not be allowed to borrow the book, but none had objected to Tango’s presence on the shelves.

The heart-warming fable of two penguins in New York City’s Central Park zoo, who couple up and raise an adopted egg, does have some resonance with the ongoing debate in the US about gay and lesbian relationships.

The tale is based on two actual male chinstrap penguins, Silo and Roy, who lived together as husband and husband in Central Park Zoo for six years.

The pair successfully hatched and raised an adopted chick, after they tried to incubate a rock.

They also inspired six other gay penguin couples at the Zoo.

However, when Scrappy, a single female, arrived from Sea World Zoo in San Diego, Silo’s eye started to wander and he moved out of his and Roy’s nest and moved in with Scrappy.

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