Gay Reversal Therapy Is a Reality—For Penguins

Marcus Bachmann’s theories validated, in shades of black and white.

Buddy and Pedro in happier times. (Photo: Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Buddy and Pedro, the love-smitten gay African penguins who were separated by busybodies at the Toronto Zoo, are headed back to Fox News. Expect color commentary from Marcus Bachmann, husband to GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Marcus runs a Christian-counseling service out of a pair of clinics in Lake Elmo and Burnsville, Minnesota. One Marcus specialty is gay-to-straight therapy.

Some observers, such as the American Psychological Association, believe that gay-to-straight conversion therapy is harmful to humans. Buddy and Pedro indicate that the harm extends to animals.

Gay or straight, lovers deserve to have their personal dramas play out without a leering media extrapolating narrow aspects of animal behavior to push flimsy political agendas.

The birds were pulled apart by zookeepers and paired with available females in a ploy to up the number of pregnant African penguins. The Toronto treatment, primarily intended for the propagation of an endangered species, was concomitantly an exercise in behavioral modification.

Lovers Buddy and Pedro’s sacrifice for the continuation of the flock had an unforeseen side effect. When the two males were reunited, their affection had flown. The suddenly straight birds exhibited hostile behavior to one another, in a dispute that Tom Mason, the zoo’s curator of birds and invertebrates, interpreted as a spat over territory.

Incompatibility among former bosom buddies would surely be acceptable collateral behavior to Marcus Bachmann, but why did the birds fall out?

Coerced intimacies with females may have disrupted Buddy and Pedro’s bond and violated their mutual trust. Plus, Buddy and Pedro’s loss of privacy almost certainly contributed to the rise in male-on-male irritability. Gay or straight, lovers deserve to have their personal dramas play out without a leering and judgmental international media extrapolating narrow aspects of animal behavior to push flimsy political agendas.

On the bright side, Buddy and Pedro must be grateful that the anti-gay-marriage plank of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign platform doesn’t extend to Toronto.

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