Gay penguins proudly march in their own WorldPride parade in Sydney

The penguin-sized parade included the world famous couple, Sphen and Magic, as well as a polyamorous, bisexual king penguin throuple including Neptune, Arthur and Aurora.

Gay penguins stand in front of a Pride flag before their parade.

On February 23, carers at Sydney’s Sea Life Aquarium organised a special Pride parade for all of the resident LGBTQ+ penguins to enjoy ahead of WorldPride.

The penguin-sized parade was led by the aquarium’s famous same-sex male Gentoo Penguin couple, Sphen and Magic. Other participants included Neptune, Arthur and Aurora, who make up a polyamorous, bisexual king penguin throuple, as well as Forrest and Nog, who are a newly established gay king penguin couple.

The keepers escorted all of the adorable LGBTQ+ lovebirds as they waddled along the aquarium’s Penguin Expedition area. The staff waved Pride flags and even guided them across a replica of the Sydney Harbour Bridge overlooking a miniature skyline that was constructed for the event.


One of the workers involved with the spectacle, Alie Selvaraj, said, “The team at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium proudly supports and celebrates the right for everyone, including our penguins, to express themselves freely… They are the perfect ambassadors for our fun, Sydney WorldPride tribute!”

Sphen and Magic became world famous in 2018 when they officially paired up as a monogamous same-sex couple. The aquarium staff shared that they had observed the penguins waddling about and going for swims together ahead of mating season. The two developed a strong bond and immediately became inseparable.

The keepers observed the couple bowing, a method gentoo penguins use to communicate affection for each other. The staff confirmed that they were a couple when they were able to find each other’s signature calls and songs – something only bonded penguins do when they are separated.

After they were spotted collecting ice pebbles and building nests together, aquarium carers provided Magic and Sphen with a dummy egg to care for. This allowed them to practice their incubating skills, and they took turns caring for the egg and protecting the perimeters of the nest.

Since then, the two penguins successfully fostered two chicks, and in 2020, they were credited with building the “most beautiful” nest in the exhibit.

While the Pride parade for these adorable LGBTQ+ penguins has concluded, the rainbow flag-adorned city skyline, which was used as a backdrop for the celebration, will remain in the sub-Antarctic penguin enclosure for the duration of the festival.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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