By Amy Duncan
How did two penguins shake up the LGBTQ community?
There was nothing unusual about the young couple at the Central Park Zoo, Roy and Silo made a nice couple and they even raised a child, Tango. What was unusual was that Roy and Silo were both male Chinstrap Penguins who became celebrities, sparking pride in the Gay and Lesbian community and even having a book written about them, And Tango Makes Three (Simon & Schuster).
In 1998, Roy and Silo began their unusual relationship. Both of them were 11 years old at the time and though trainers never saw them engage in a physical sex act, the two males engaged in mating rituals such as vocalizing to each other and rubbing their necks together. They even tried to hatch a rock they had mistaken for an egg.
The next year the two were given a real egg to raise and the following spring Tango hatched. Tango, a female, has since taken another female, Tazuni, as her mate. Including the Tango-Tazuni relationship, the Central Park Zoo had four same sex penguin couples at one time.
By May 2004 more aggressive penguins forced Roy and Silo out of their nest. By the mating season in 2005, Silo had mated with Scrappy, a female that was transferred into the zoo in 2002. Roy was not reported to have taken with a new mate.
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