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Can Animals Be Gay?

can animals be gay

Being gay or LGBTQ+ is something that has always been associated with just humans and our psyche and behaviour. But actually in the animal kingdom there are many different examples of recorded homosexual behaviour that completely disproves the theories that it is just something solely experienced by humans.

Scientific References

Zoologist Konrad Lorenz in 1995, published a study of over 1,500 animal species (from primates to parasites) and found that 450 of those displayed sexual intercourse, courtship and even child-rearing behaviours towards the same sex.

These behaviours display themselves differently in each species but in most cases it’s actually seen as an evolutionary advantage. For example, male dolphins use sex to bond with each other and to form stronger alliances in the wild. In contrast, fruit flies display homosexual behaviour as they are unable to differentiate between the sexes.


Why is it Such a Taboo?

Studies on this subject were avoided for fear of rejection by scientific experts and the scientific community even though some of these behaviours are seen as an evolutionary response to environmental changes.

But it’s interesting how throughout history the strong rejection of homosexuality by different societies has had a very different reality in the animal kingdom. One in which relationships between individuals of the same sex occur throughout different species of animals as part of their evolutionary development and once our own societies get past their own biases, these studies would actually make a significant change to our knowledge of our animal friends.

What other animals have displayed this behaviour?

Some Mammals include:

  • Baboon,
  • Bison,
  • Brown Bear,
  • Dog,
  • Elephant,
  • Fox,
  • Giraffe,
  • Goat,
  • Horse (domestic),
  • Koala,
  • Lion.

Some Birds are:

  • Barn owl,
  • Chicken,
  • Common gull,
  • Emu,
  • House sparrow,
  • Kestrel,
  • King penguin.

Click here to see the full list in more detail

So to leave you with what PhD student Tom Versluys said as a last thought “Homosexuality is still something that’s not always well understood among the scientific community and maybe even more poorly understood among the general population. It’s currently being reframed, in our lab and elsewhere, as a normal behaviour rather than something that’s abhorrent or problematic.”

Shannon Halliwell (She/Her)
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