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Can Animals Be Gay?

Think Christianly: Can Animals Be Gay?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Can Animals Be Gay?

Not your average Easter cover story...but culturally interesting...

"The New York Times Magazine offered a photograph of bunnies on the cover of its Easter Sunday edition, but the paper was asking a rather unusual question: “Can animals be gay?”

“Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals by now, from flamingos to bison to beetles to guppies to warthogs,” reported Jon Mooallem. Well, that’s a rather surprising statistic on many levels. It seems that researchers have been attempting to document these activities and to explain them. Thus far, there has been only a smattering of documentation and significant controversy over how to explain it.

Mooallem explains:

Within most species, homosexual sex has been documented only sporadically, and there appear to be few cases of individual animals who engage in it exclusively. For more than a century, this kind of observation was usually tacked onto scientific papers as a curiosity, if it was reported at all, and not pursued as a legitimate research subject. Biologists tried to explain away what they’d seen, or dismissed it as theoretically meaningless - an isolated glitch in an otherwise elegant Darwinian universe where every facet of an animal’s behavior is geared toward reproducing.

The magazine’s cover story begins in Hawaii, where observers are documenting the behavior of albatrosses. One researcher, Lindsay C. Young, noted the existence of some single-sex pairs of the birds, some of whom have “been together” for several years or more. Are these lesbian...." (more from article)

Here are a few thoughts on appealing to nature to normalize human behavior:

1) Yes some animals do seem to act in this way on occasion. What follows from this? Animals also engage in acts akin to rape and devouring their own young. Do we really want to look to animals for normative ethics? On what basis do we move from "is" to "ought"?

2) Are we (humans) nothing more than animals? Are we simply dancing to our DNA? If so, this is very demeaning to us as humans. It assumes we have no control over our actions.

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