This bishop claims there are no gay animals in nature – meet all the creatures that disagree
A Bishop in South Africa has claimed that homosexuality is “unnatural” because it does not occur in the animal kingdom – and boy he could not be more wrong.
Bishop Dag Heward-Mills of Grace Bible Church in Soweto made the outspoken comments in a sermon this week, prompting ridicule from local LGBT activists and some church-goers.
He had claimed: “You will find that homosexuality is not natural. You don’t find two male dogs, two male lions, two male impalas Two male cats, even lizards, two elephants. It is unnatural.
“Yes, there is nothing like that in nature. And in the same way there is nothing like one to one Nature is one to several.”
Local celebrity radio host Somizi Mhlongo stormed out of the church during the sermon, explaining: “I’m not going to sit there and listen to somebody offending me….I walked out – and visibly so! I’m proud and I’m going to remain gay for the rest of my life!”
Of course, the Bishop could not be more wrong about his insistence that homosexuality doesn’t exist in nature.
Dozens of studies have found hundreds of different species engage naturally in same-sex sexual activity, from grizzly bears to lizards.
Same-sex activity is used in the animal kingdom for many reasons, ranging from pleasure-seeking to conflict solving. Many species form bonds for life with their same-sex partner.
Here are just some of the hundreds of animals that have documented same-sex behaviour.
Many dolphins are bisexual. Research scientists at the University of Massachusetts have concluded that male dolphins conduct intense social relationships and are found to engage in extensive bisexuality.
The researchers studied more than 120 bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, and discovered relationships of a considerably more complex nature than previously thought. Co-author of the study, Richard Connor, told Discovery News that the dolphins engaged in extensive bisexuality, combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality.
Lots of male dolphins get together with other males, many mate for life, and at the loss of a partner, they are known to go into extensive mourning periods. Sad.
Aside from humans, penguins are the species that most famously forms same-sex relationships. Many different species of penguin in captivity and in the wild have partnered with a member of the same-sex.
Dozens of high-profile gay and lesbian penguin couples attract fame in zoos and wildlife preserves around the world – and studies have found they’re even better at parenting than heterosexual penguin couples, when given eggs to look after.
Same-sex pairings in penguins are so well known that even a children’s book, ‘And Tango Makes Three’, has been written about it. Sadly the book continues to be banned around the world, despite being very cute.
Not only does homosexuality occur in giraffes, but nearly all giraffe sex happens between two males.
Researchers have found that 94% of observed sexual activity in giraffes happened in male same-sex pairings.
Male giraffes have a unique way of flirting, known as “necking”.
As well as using necking to assert dominance, and to establish a hierarchy, giraffes also rub each other’s necks, sometimes to the point of arousal. After necking, sometimes for up to an hour at a time, males sometimes mount each other to reach climax.
Sadly for female giraffes, this even takes place when there are both males and females around. In its more extreme form, necking involves male giraffes swinging their necks violently towards one another. Nobody gets hurt though, usually…
One of the human race’s closest ancestors, the dwarf chimpanzee, is very comfortable in same-sex relationships.
Otherwise known as bonobos, the species is entirely bisexual.
Dwarf chimpanzees often use sex as a way to solve conflicts, rather than violence.
And look at how cute they are…
And there’s more!
Here’s some of the many, many other animals where homosexuality has been documented.
Perhaps not the sexiest of creatures, snails are a recent addition to the sexually and gender-diverse world of the animal kingdom.
The Aegista diversifamilia snail, which was discovered as a species of its own, around ten years ago, was named after the global equal marriage movement.
Boasting both male and female reproductive organs, the snail was hailed as a symbol of diversity.
Dr Yen-Chang Lee, co-author of the paper describing the species, said: “They represent the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom. We decided that maybe this is a good occasion to name the snail to remember the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights.”
*Bonus* Some hermaphroditic land snails actually have a detachable “love dart” penis which they fire at each other during courtship. So when they are not being awesome and non-gender/sexuality conforming, they are having fun stabbing each other with their penises…
…Not the kind you are thinking of. Bears have been observed in same-sex activity.
Various species of bear including Brown Bears and Black Bears have been observed pairing up in same-sex partnerships.
Two male bears were last year observed regularly having oral sex at a wildlife sanctuary in Croatia.
Billions of insects and arachnids are thought not to discriminate between male and female when choosing partners, in an attempt to avoid missing out on a potential mate.
Others think the behaviour, observed in hundreds of species of insects and arachnids, could just be innate.
So the next time you get freaked out by a huge spider – just think – they might be gay.