Thursday, May 24, 2012


Every spring for six years penguins Inca and Rayas at Madrid's Faunia Park have lovingly built a nest together, only to find that no eggs arrive to fill it. It doesn't seem to have dawned on the couple that both of them are male. But after the repeated heartbreak of watching other penguins become parents and raise their young, the gay couple finally have something to celebrate after their keepers gave them an egg of their own to care for.

Rather than questioning how the improbable scenario arose, the inseparable pair has seized their one chance at fatherhood with the zeal of a couple who know they may not get another. 

Inca has taken on the female role of incubating the donated egg, obtained by keepers a month ago, and stoically remains atop his prize for most of the day, refusing the temptation to dip his feathers into the water. His partner Rayas, meanwhile, keeps a watchful guard over the nest while eating whatever he can fit in his beak in preparation for the traditional male job of feeding his young with regurgitated fish.

His keepers report that Rayas has become more anxious due to nervous anticipation of his due date in June, but that the job seems to have made him into a 'new penguin'.

Ms Yolanda Martin, who cares for the pair said, "We wanted them to have something to stay together for, so we got an egg. Otherwise they might have become depressed."

Meanwhile when President Obama publicly made his groundbreaking announcement advocating gay marriage, he probably didn't expect his earth-shattering liberal legacy to extend first and foremost to fictional characters. But love moves in mysterious ways, and in this case dons a cape and some lycra. Marvel Comics' only openly gay X-Man, Northstar, is proposing to his boyfriend.

This all happens in the Astonishing X-Men issue out this week. The couple are to have a wedding ceremony in New York City's Central Park, only after Northstar, who came out in a pioneering issue of the comic in 1992, plucks up the courage to propose to his long-term boyfriend Kyle.

This storyline is the latest example of the comic book world's concerted effort to raise LGBT awareness using its popular and well-known characters.

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