HOMOSEXUALITY IN ANIMALS
Animals have been referenced many times in arguments to justify arguments on the cycle of life, what is natural or how the animal kingdom is supposed to function (i.e. survival of the fittest). I, in my time of ignorance and lack of education, was one to say that homosexuality was not natural only because it did not exist within animals…and after my visit to the Museum of Sex not so long ago, I put that theory to rest. R.I.P, “homosexuality in animals does not exist.” Actually, there hasn’t been a species yet where homosexual behavior has not been observed, other than animals that reproduce asexually. Same sex activity has been recorded for the following animals: frogs, turtles, cats, cheetahs, bears, rats, buffalos, elephants, beetles, spiders, moths, flies and even butterflies.
The animal exhibition at the Museum of Sex featured a video about the Bonobos --primates from the chimpanzee family that practice same sex activity and lots of it! Female Bonobos have their organs on the outside and practice genital to genital stimulation by rubbing (g-g rubbing) with other females and in some cases even get to climax. Also FYI, off the gay topic for a second, some Bonobos were even recorded practicing prostitution. One female was caught having sex in exchange for sugar canes; she simply snatched the cane after she was finished and limped away.
However, the part of the exhibition that caught my eyes was the observation of a woman (I cannot recall her name or position, she was probably a scientist or so) of something very surprising. A male duck was trying to rape another male duck, and out of shock or lack of defense skills the victim duck died. In the second picture though (above this article), we see that the aggressor duck still rapes (if you can call it that if the victim is dead) the dead duck.
In defense of the opinion that animals can not actually be gay, is NARTH, The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality whose slogan is:
“NARTH upholds the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care, and the right to professionals who offer that care.”
NARTH claims animals engaging in these gay activities is a result of clashing stimuli and confused animal instincts, as they easily confuse sensations and objects. The article on their website states that besides confusion and clashing stimuli, since animals lack the ability to express certain states of being (fear, pleasure, pain, desire), they “borrow” the “instinct of reproduction” (sex) in order to represent those states that they cannot display themselves (even with the same sex). (www.narth.com) NARTH even uses to their arguments’ defense, a quote by scientist Simon LeVay stating that “Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities.” Contrary to that statement though, Harry and Pepper two Magellanic Penguins from the San Francisco Zoo sustained a six year relationship and raised a baby together- although Harry later strayed with the next door penguin Linda. To read the full gossip on this love affair use this link: http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-07-14/bay-area/17218309_1_penguins-san-francisco-zoo-magellanic.
Image- courtesy of my own camera: Kim Kim Lee, and The Museum of Sex