Thomas, a New Zealand native, beloved father, and alternative lifestyle icon has passed away at the age of 40.
This is how the obituary would read if Thomas were a human. But the famous Wellington resident was actually a goose. A blind, gay, interspecies-polyamorous goose whose life story captured the hearts of locals and the world at large.
Thomas first rose to celebrity when he was a young male in the gaggle at Waimanu Lagoon. There, he was observed shunning other geese in favor of the company of a male black swan named Henry. The couple was together for 18 happy years before a female swan, Henrietta, flew into the picture.
Henry and Henrietta began to nest together, but instead of the traditional monogamous pair bond normally shared among both geese and swans, Thomas stuck around and they became a dedicated triangular unit.
Thomas was an invested parent to Henry and Henrietta’s 68 cygnets over the next 12 years, during which time the family was a regular and much-cherished sight at Waimanu.
Henry passed away in 2009, after which Henrietta found a new partner and Thomas finally tried mating with a female goose. Tragically, the young goslings were adopted by a different male, leaving Thomas alone once more. When he became blind in both eyes in 2013, Thomas was brought to the nearby Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust to pass his remaining years.
“We have loved having Thomas as a part of the WBRT Family and have treated him with extra special love and care!” the trust shared in the announcement of Thomas’s death, posted on Facebook on February 5. “He was such a special boy and a wonderful character.”
Messages of mourning quickly filled in, especially from fans who appreciated Thomas’s symbolic support for LGBT+ issues.
Homosexuality has been widely documented in the animal kingdom: 1,500 known species display this behavior, and more cases are likely to be discovered. Luckily for them, there is no indication that homophobia exists outside of humans. Gay geese don’t need to defend that their behavior is natural to other swans.
Thomas’s multi-partner inclinations are also no oddity in nature – significant evidence of polyamorous behavior (not to mention polygendered individuals) has been recently observed, prompting biologists like Antonia Forster to keep challenging our understanding of sexuality.
According to the WBRT, the heteronormative-eschewing celebrity will be buried next to his “true love” under the commemorative stone and plaque made for the two in 2009.
“We had about 100 people turn up for Henry and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened for Thomas,” local birdwatcher Mik Preyer told Stuff. Preyer followed Thomas’s epic life from the beginning and was the one who named the three.
“It was a 30-year love story that should be celebrated.”