Yes! Penguins are sometimes gay.

Everyone loves penguins, but not everyone loves gay penguins.

Gay penguins illustration from Queer Animals Coloring zine. Written by author of trans speculative fiction, Kes Otter Lieffe. Illustrated by Anja Van Geert. This coloring zine celebrates the diversity of animals and our beautiful queer communities.

Since at least 1911, penguins have been observed “engaging in homosexual behaviour.” What’s interesting is that the earliest report was considered too shocking, the behaviour too depraved, to be made public. Private copies of the report were translated into Greek to keep them secret.

But the news got out.

In the late 1990’s, in a New York zoo, two male chinstrap penguins raised a chick. Roy and Silo became penguin superstars and their story was told in a play and at least two children’s books.

o this day, this small penguin family is being used as an argument by both North American liberals and the Christian right. Who knew that penguins could be so controversial?


Read more about gay penguins in our Queer Animals zine

Queer Animals Coloring zine by author of trans speculative fiction, Kes Otter Lieffe. Illustrated by Anja Van Geert. This coloring zine celebrates the diversity of animals and our beautiful queer communities.

Lesbian lizards, gay giraffes, bisexual red deer and sex-changing clownfish. This colouring book celebrates the diversity of animals and the ways in which our beautiful queer communities exist far beyond the realms of human culture.

So many of us grew up with wildlife programmes and school biology classes that never once mention these aspects of life on Earth. A male meets a female, seduces her with his bright feathers or funky dance and they very quickly mate – and that’s it. The implication has always been that that the whole point of life is to make little baby animals and there is nothing in the great natural world that might challenge the cis-het norms of biologists.

This entertaining and educational resource, created by trans woman and ecologist Kes Otter Lieffe, and richly illustrated by Anja Van Geert, liberates this knowledge and helps free us all to be our true selves. 

Kes Otter Lieffe is an author of trans speculative fiction novels and writes articles about queer ecology, class and gender. Gay penguins Illustration by Anja Van Geert.