My friend Irina forwarded me this fascinating link today; you can view the story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15750604/.
Apparently there is now a gay animal museum that displays 51 examples of animal homosexuality. It has some pretty well known examples of gay animals, including Bonobos and whales. The article also briefs over the multiple reasons members of an animal species might be gay (pleasure, dominance, networking, etc).
The most interesting thing I read though is about gay animal couples
. Because when the issue of homosexual animals (other than humans, that is) comes up, we always hear about the dogs humping and the bonobos rubbing up against each other but less is said about something resembling an actual relationship similar to one that would occur between a male and female couple of the same species. I've read a lot about the bonobos (you can read my blog about them and homosexuality here
) but emphasis is always on the sexual aspect of their homosexual relationships. In this article however, it mentions how some animals actually have gay couples that raise young together! I hadn't really been aware that this happens.
For example. Apparently, almost a QUARTER of black swan families are raised by homosexual couples! Is that not the coolest thing? I always loved black swans as a kid- now I love them even more! It's so cute!
It's sad though that I have to read random articles on the internet to realize this.
"Like most complex issues, animal homosexuality is challenging and poorly understood. Therefore, educators tend to shy away from covering it in their teaching."
Hear, hear. I think this is something high school biology classes should not forget to cover, because it's pretty important, and if kids are taught from an early age that there are multiple reasons animals have sex besides reproduction, a lot of misconceptions will clear the stage.
Here's an additional link to gay black swan info: http://www.esquire.com/the-side/gayanimals030707-3
that link is actually pretty cool because it has multiple examples of homosexuality among animals (including flamingos and the koala!)
an interesting line about the swans there: "These homosexual couples are frequently better-suited to parenting than their heterosexual counterparts -- as two males, they can secure a bigger territory."
oooh. I guess at least in the REST of the animal kingdom, gays aren't necessarily considered to make bad parents. ;3