Tell School District Not to Cancel Play About Gay Penguin Dads

Photo credit: University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance

Just days after we learned of yet another pair of same-sex penguin dads, comes the news that the Austin Independent School District in Texas has cancelled the performances at local elementary schools of And Then Came Tango, a play based on the real-life story of two male penguins who parented together.

They’re the same penguin family immortalized in the 2005 book And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. The play was written by Emily Freeman, a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin. University students performed it once for second-graders in October, after which district officials “raised concerns about age appropriateness” and cancelled it, according to the Austin Statesman (via the Dallas Voice).

A Texas conservative group is making the usual comments about how promoting a different, “illegal” definition of marriage will lead to discussions of sex, reports the Statesman.

Baffling. Silo and Roy, the penguin dads, were never married (it’s hard to wear a ring on flippers), and unlike their opposite-sex peers, did not need to have sex to create their family.

Interested families can still see the play for free on the UT  campus, November 30 to December 2. Details here. For more on the play, including fun penguin facts and teacher materials that encourage children to think about what family means to them, see utexastya.org.

The Dallas Voice suggests “the LGBT community should make sure district officials are aware how we feel” about the decision to cancel the play. The main number for the school district offices is 512-414-1700. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen is at superintendent@austinisd.org. The Board of Trustees office is at 512-414-1704 or trustees@austinisd.org. A complete list of current board members is here.