The world continues to suffer the indignations of the intolerant. Buddy and Pedro, non-ambiguously gay male penguins who currently reside in the Toronto Zoo, are not only being denied benefits because they are gay, but they are being forcefully split apart by intolerant, bigot zookeepers who claim the affectionate penguin couple is being ripped to shreds “because their species is endangered,” not because of (alleged!) disgusting anti-gay agendas or politics of the suits in charge.
Buddy and Pedro, are two male penguins in a same-sex relationship who baffle zookeepers around the world for their same-sex preference, doing “courtship and mating behaviors that females and males would do,” and that the stylish couple ”seem to be in a loving relationship of some sort.” Despite this, they are being separated and paired with females.
It is too soon to tell whether there will be backlash from gay rights supporters, but it’s clear that, as a society, we are being prohibited from tolerance. From schools who refuse to discuss homosexuality to…this, we should feel shame and should protest this separation vehemently. Our sexuality is not our choice.
Obviously the penguin story is a tongue-in-cheek example (although it’s still not okay) of intolerance, a recent study supported by the National Science Foundation actually shows that young people are leading the dramatic rise in acceptance of homosexuality. This rise has been particularly sharp in the last two decades (yay, us!). According to the study:
“[Support] went from 11 percent approval in 1988 to 46 percent in 2010, compared to 40 percent who were opposed, producing a narrow plurality in favor for the first time.”
That there is such a marked generational difference in tolerance is disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising. The survey reveals:
“There is a large generation gap on the issue [of same-sex marriage],” according to Smith. While 64 percent of those under 30 back same-sex marriage, only 27 percent of those 70 and older support it.
Just 11 percent were in the middle, saying it was either ‘almost always wrong’ or ‘wrong only sometimes.’ Public opinion is thus highly polarized on this issue, with few people sharing the middle ground.”
Perhaps most startling, at least to me (I stand in strong support of gay rights), is exactly how specific bigotry can be. It isn’t just acceptance of homosexuality as a life issue, it narrows down to accepting a gay public speaker or the banning of books in libraries that “favor homosexuality.” Students are suing school districts, for God’s sake. I’m not necessarily naive; I’m tolerant and thus, I think, sometimes blind to how terrible things can actually be for gays or other minorities who are struggling for equality. I suffer from the “I Don’t Think That Way, So I Don’t Understand Hate” mentality, which is wrong in itself. A recent article in Science Daily shows just how ignorant the non-ignorant folks can really be:
The GSS, which has been conducted biennially for 40 years, showed a marked increase in support of many civil liberties for gays and lesbians. Support for a gay person’s right to speak before a public audience increased from 62 percent in 1972 to 86 percent in 2010; support for allowing gays and lesbians to teach at colleges or universities rose from 48 percent in 1973 to 84 percent in 2010; and approval for having a library keep a book that favors homosexuality rose from 54 percent in 1973 to 78 percent in 2010.
The change toward acceptance of homosexuality began in the late 1980s after years of remaining relatively constant. In 1973, 70 percent of people felt same-sex relations are “always wrong,” and in 1987, 75 percent held that view. By 2000, however, that number dropped to 54 percent and by 2010 was down to 43.5 percent.
Perhaps mere “tolerance” isn’t enough, but I am sometimes confused in matters concerning equality. I’m a straight, Caucasian woman. Yeah, my childhood was crummy and my mom raised me as a single-mother household, but what exactly can I do to help these issues and make a difference?
I can pledge for Pedro and Buddy, but somehow I don’t think that’s enough.