This week, as I was explaining the idea that Nature is identified with reproduction in Western cosmology, I gave my class this article about the “gay penguins” in the Central Park Zoo. I told my students that the notion of homosexuality as “unnatural” was linked to the idea that Nature = “the Birth-giver,” and that this mated pair of male penguins was especially provocative because they wanted to reproduce so badly they tried to incubate a rock. When their keepers gave them an egg to brood over, they became the parents of a chick named Tango. This led to the publication of Justin Richardson’s book, And Tango Makes Three, now one of the American Library Association’s “Most Challenged” books in American public schools.
Then it turned out that one of my colleagues, a political theorist, had talked about the book with her gender theory class on the same day. I had no idea that penguins were such accomplished critics of ideology.