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Meet The Lady Knitting 5,000 Sweaters For Australian Penguins

DIE WELT (Germany)


HAMBURG - Penguins may look as if they're wearing tuxedos, but they feel more comfortable in a sweater – when, that is, the sweater can protect them from the disastrous effects of oil slicks. Since February, German woman Angelika Regenstein has been knitting wooly jumpers for penguins and has developed a global network of co-knitters.

The finished items are collected at her Hamburg travel agency. When she has 5,000 she intends to bring them to Australia – where the penguin sweater idea originated at the Phillip Island Rehabilitation Centre.

The island is home to 60,000 dwarf penguins. When they return to land at night, they are in danger of getting oil on their feathers – unless they're wearing their sweater, whose wool absorbs the oil. After an oil spill in 2001, sweaters saved 97% of the local penguin population, according to the organization, which also provided them for penguins impacted by the Rena spill off New Zealand.

The sweaters have to be knitted exactly according to instructions, says Regenstein, but if a finished item is a little off size-wise -- no problem. "They sell toy penguins on the island, and with a sweater they bring in more money for the center."

"Everybody can knit at their own pace, and as much as they want to; there are no deadlines." says Regenstein. "Sweaters are always needed."

Read the full article by Bettina Albrod in Die Welt.

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New Study Finds High Levels Of Anti-LGBTQ+ Discrimination In Buddhism

We tend to think of Buddhism as a religion devoid of commandments, and therefore generally more accepting than others. The author, an Australian researcher — and "genderqueer, non-binary Buddhist" themself — suggests that it is far from being the case.

Photo of a Buddhist monk in a Cambodia temple, walking away from the camera

Some Buddhist spaces can be highly heteronormative and show lack of understanding toward the LGBTQ+ community

Stephen Kerry

More than half of Australia’s LGBTQIA+ Buddhists feel reluctant to “come out” to their Buddhist communities and nearly one in six have been told directly that being LGBTQIA+ isn’t in keeping with the Buddha’s teachings.

These are some of the findings from my research looking at the experiences of LGBTQIA+ Buddhists in Australia.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

I’m a genderqueer, non-binary Buddhist myself and I was curious about others’ experiences in Australia since there has been no research done on our community before. So, in 2020, I surveyed 82 LGBTQIA+ Buddhists and have since followed this up with 29 face-to-face interviews.

Some people may think Buddhism would be quite accepting of LGBTQIA+ people. There are, after all, no religious laws, commandments or punishments in Buddhism. My research indicates, however, this is not always true.

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