Gay penguins at Sydney aquarium are "fake", conservative party claims

Penguins march under a gay rainbow inflatable at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.
Penguins march under a gay rainbow inflatable at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.

Two male gentoo penguins homed at an aquarium in Australia have risen to fame in recent years as a result of their charming love story. However, the gay penguins have recently received some unwanted attention from the Family First political party, which claims their relationship is forced and fake.

The penguins, Sphen and Magic, are currently part of a heartwarming education module for nearby students, developed by the New South Wales (NSW) Teachers Federation in collaboration with Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. As part of the course, the couple is showcased to teach local children more about animals and same-sex relationships.

In a Facebook post, the NSW Teacher Federation provided instruction for educators on how to access the course materials. Part of it reads, “Members can access a unit of work about SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s same sex penguin couple, Sphen and Magic,” adding that it includes pre-excursion, excursion and post-excursion lessons. That’s right, not only do these children get to learn about the penguins, but they can meet the happy couple as well!

However, the Family First Party in Australia claims that the penguins are not actually gay, publishing a statement on its website, describing their relationship as “concocted”.

For five years, Sphen and Magic, have been in aquatic love, with the aquarium staff also leaning into the fun, giving occasional video updates on the two love birds. One of the more recent videos was during their three-year anniversary in 2021.


In 2018, Sphen and Magic welcomed their first chick into the world, Sphengic, who is also known by the caretakers as Lara. In 2021 they welcomed their second chick, named Clancy Carpenter, or CC for short. The name was chosen by fans of the gay penguin couple. 

“Penguins share equal parenting duties, except for the actual egg laying of course. So that means it doesn’t matter what combination of sexes you have with the parents,” Penguin Supervisor at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium Kiera Ponting said in a radio interview with Ben Fordham. 

Despite the couple’s long history, as well as the fact that many same-sex pairs exist in the natural world, Family First completely opposed the educational excursion for students.

As of right now, Sea Life and the New South Wales Teachers Federation have not changed their position, meaning the “fake” gay penguins are here to stay.

The aquarium doesn’t just support penguins such as Sphen and Magic, but also the entirety of the LGBTQ+ community, which they showed by hosting a penguin Pride parade in February of this year.

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