Did you know that homosexual behavior has been observed in more than 1,500 different species of animals? That’s right. Regardless of what your sixth grade religion teacher may have said, homosexual activity is natural and the overwhelming majority of animals are queer.
It’s actually extremely rare for any animal to exclusively exhibit heterosexual or homosexual tendencies. By our societal standards, that would make nearly all animals bisexual (or pansexual) because they have intercourse with members of the same and opposite sex. In fact, same-sex sexual activity may actually be adaptive among animals, helping them get along “ maintain [ superior fertility] and protect their young.”
So, why are people still shocked that human beings (who are also members of the animal kingdom) engage in homosexual behavior as well?!
Here are five animal species that prove being queer is totally normal.
Humans aren’t the only animal species to enjoy neck stimulation! Male giraffes partake in a form of erotic foreplay, called “necking.” As the name implies, this activity involves two male giraffes rubbing their neck together until they’re ready to have sex. (Who knows, maybe all those spots are actually just hickeys!) Interestingly, one research study claimed that 94% of all observed sexual activity in giraffes occurred between two, or more, males.
While the statistics in this study have been fiercely contested, male giraffes indisputably seem to enjoy having sex with other male giraffes.
2) Chilean Flamingos
These gorgeous, majestic and super gay animals should be mascots for the queer community. In recent years, there have been several heartwarming stories about these birds. For instance, two male flamingos adopted a baby chick after it was abandoned by its biological parents at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland. Additionally, another pair of male flamingos (who also raised a chick together) have been together for more than 30 years. [That’s longer than far too many human marriages] “They spend time together, they eat together, they walk around the exhibit together,” explains Monica Halpin, keeper of birds at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia. “They’re like a normal flamingo pair, except they’re boys.”
While humans shake hands as a symbol of welcome, bonobos simply spread their legs. That’s right, one of our closest genetic relatives, are known to engage in extremely high levels of homosexual activity. Female bonobos frequently “rub their genitals together” and emit “squeals that reflect orgasmic experiences” while males routinely engage in “penis-fencing,” or genital-to-genital touching, to reduce tension after a fight. [If only human males handled conflict like this, there would be a lot less war].
Interestingly, sexual behavior between bonobos extends far beyond reproduction. In fact, female and male bonobos engage in homosexual behavior to cement social bonds, develop relationships with more dominant group members and climb the social ladder. “There’s a whole range of behaviors that fit in well with how evolution happens that now include homosexual behavior,” says Marlene Zuk of the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul.
At 187 years old, Jonathan is the worlds oldest living land creature…and the gayest. He’s been living with his partner, long thought to be Frederica, in St. Helena for nearly 30 years. The pair were a well known fixture on the island and have been photographed with both monarchs and politicians! However, in 2017 it was revealed that the lovely Frederica was actually a Frederic. (Someone contact Nicholas Sparks for the rights to this story ASAP).
While Jonathan and Frederic have never produced an offspring, for obvious reasons, they remain deeply committed to one another. Jonathan visits his mate every single Sunday, despite being blind and unable to smell!
(Isn’t it comforting to know that this elderly tortoise has been kicking since Anne Lister first began to seduce Ann Walker in 1832? Just call him, Gentleman Jonathan.)
Did you know that female elephants tend to favor the company of other females? Matriarchal by nature, wild elephants typically only use males for brief reproductive purposes, then return to their all female herds. Sometimes these pairings even become romantic in nature. (Who doesn’t love a vaguely incestual girl group?)
For instance, Tilly and Mae Kham Puan, two female elephants at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, are both revolted by the presence of young bulls. They have been known to become so physically distressed by the presence of a male that they seek comfort in each other. Tilly and Mae Kham Puan will frequently seclude themselves by the river, engage in trunk draping and mount each other, which is “clearly intended to be intimate and private.”
And there you have it, five examples that being queer isn’t only normal but it’s natural as well!