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Digital Subscriptions > Winq > Autumn 2017 > birds of a feather

birds of a feather

AS MORE AND MORE ANIMAL SPECIES ARE OBSERVED SHOWING SAME-SEX ATTRACTION, WINQ VISITS LONDON ZOO TO MEET GAY BIRD-KEEPER CARL ASHWORTH AND HIS COHORT OF QUEER PENGUINS TO FIND OUT WHY HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM ISN’T AS BLACK AND WHITE AS IT MAY SEEM

It may surprise you to know that one of the most complained about books of the 21st century doesn’t tell a story of murder, rape or any other typically unsavoury crime. It’s actually quite the opposite. Th is book, published in 2005, is a sweet, true story about the penguins of New York’s Central Park Zoo, written for children by husbands Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.

Penguins are rarely dangerous animals — their cute waddle and intriguing status as aquatic, flightless birds oft en endears them to humans. But when you add to this the issue of same-sex attraction in the animal kingdom, danger and doubt suddenly appear for many.

At the end of the noughties, bestselling children’s book And Tango Makes Th ree found itself ranked fourth on the American Library Association’s most challenged books of the decade, having topped the annual list in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 (dropping to second place in 2009). Reasons listed on the ALA’s website include ‘anti-ethnic’, ‘anti-family’, ‘homosexuality’, ‘unsuited to age group’, ‘sexism’, ‘religious viewpoint’ and (cue eye-roll) ‘promotes the homosexual agenda’.

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About Winq

The new autumn issue of Winq includes a world-exclusive interview with Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin as his long-awaited memoir is published. And Booker-Prize winning author Alan Hollinghurst gives his first interview about his latest novel, The Sparsholt Affair. We also chat to Andrea Riseborough about playing Billie Jean King’s girlfriend in Hollywood movie Battle of the Sexes, and comedian Simon Amstell tells us about mixing stand-up with self-help. We look at the reality of gay life in South Africa, often held up as the most accepting country in Africa, and examine the reasons why Scandinavia has become one of the most liberal parts of the world. Plus we meet the gay man who looks after London Zoo’s gay penguins!

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