Homosexuality among Animals

No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis.

– Bruce Bagemihl

Human society can be said to have created closed society which does not permit homosexuality. But almost all animals and birds species recognize and practice same-sex relationships without any inhibition. It is not peculiar to humans and is studied to have exhibited animals ranging from primates to gut worms too. Brown bear, parrots, gazelles, fence lizard, house fly are among 1500 species to follow such behaviour. Greek philosopher Aristotle noted apparent homosexual behavior among hyenas 2,300 years ago but evidence of animal homosexuality has often been ignored by researchers, perhaps because of distaste, lack of interest or fear or ridicule. Bagemihl reports in Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity that scientists’ use of anthropomorphizing vocabulary such as insulting, unfortunate, and inappropriate to describe same-sex mating show a decided lack of objectivity on the part of naturalists.

Homosexual behaviour among them may be visible in the form of anal sex; same sex kissing, long-term pair bonding between members of the same sex etc. Such bonds are subject to longevity and depth of bonding. Same sex pairs of animals kiss and caress each other with obvious affection and tenderness. They engage in every conceivable means of sexual expression. Petter Bøckman has stated that researchers must realise that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher’s ethical principles.

In the Kama Sutra, sexual acts of humans involving homosexuality are regarded in some castes permissible while not so in other castes. So, if an animal is involved in loving relationship with animal of same sex, it can be permitted. Homosexual acts are condemned by some Christians whereas other considers it as acceptable alternative to be natural. Liberal Muslims like Al-Fatiha consider homosexuality as natural; regarding these the Quran is silent on homosexual love. Guru Granth Sahib while prohibiting five vices which includes Lust (K’haam) appears to condemn homosexuality, while universal equality and brotherhood as emphasized in it can be viewed in support of homosexual acts. Buddhism condemns homosexuality absolutely.

Oslo Natural History Museum, Norway in 2006 has concluded that human homosexuality cannot be viewed as “unnatural” since it is found among non-humans as well. So as is the case in the animal kingdom, homosexual behaviour is likely to be accepted too by ‘Human’ society in future.

Bhumika Sharma