“God is slightly Gay”: Homosexuality in the animal Kingdom

Well, OK – not so much GOD, as Her/His creation:

“Just ask the animals. As soon as they stop having all that homosexual sex”

but for what that says about the Divinity, there may not be too much of a distinction.

Mark Morton writes in his column on SFGate about new research in the animal kingdom which shows that some homosexuality occurs in virtually every animal species.  It has long been known  that some animals engage in homosex, but the new research shows that this is in fact far more widespread than previously recognised.  I saw the news reports that Morford refers to when they first appeared, but he writes about them with humour, style and verve, producing a piece which is irreverent but fun, as well as important.

“I am sitting here right now smiling just a little, fondly recalling that famously controversial children’s book, the one about the gay penguins.

Remember? That positively adorable pair of them, at the Central Park Zoo, who had adopted an abandoned egg and then hatched it themselves and were raising the chick together as a couple, even though the chick was clearly not theirs — though of course how penguins can actually tell whose kid is whose is still a question. Never mind that now.

The best part: the story was absolutely true. The book, “And Tango Makes Three,” was beautiful and sweet and touching in all the right ways — except, of course, for the fact that it was also totally evil.

For indeed, the penguins in question, named Roy and Silo, were both males. This meant they were clearly in some sort of ungodly, aberrant homosexual relationship, mocking natural laws and defying God’s will that all creatures only cohabitate with the opposite sex and buy microfiber sofas from Pottery Barn and eat their meals in silent resentment and never have sex.

Worst of all, the book depicted this relationship, this “family,” as perfectly OK, as no big deal, as even (shudder) normal. After all, Roy and Silo didn’t seem to give much of a damn. Tango sure seemed happy, what with not being left for dead and all. As of this writing, the Central Park Zoo has yet to be swallowed into a gaping maw of sinful doom. Unless you count those parents.

I am right now amused at this because it turns out Roy and Silo were not really so much of an anomaly at all. Nor were they some sort of unholy freakshow, an immoral mistake in the eyes of a wrathful hetero God. Far from it. Turns out they were, in fact, far more the norm than many humans, even to this day, want to let on.

Behold, the ongoing, increasingly startling research: homosexual and bisexual behavior, it turns out, is rampant in the animal kingdom. And by rampant, I mean proving to be damn near universal, commonplace across all species everywhere, existing for myriad reasons ranging from pure survival and procreative influence, right on over to pure pleasure, co-parenting, giddy screeching multiple monkey orgasm, even love, and a few dozen other potential explanations science hasn’t quite figured out yet. Imagine.

Are you thinking, why sure, everyone knows about those sex-crazed dolphins and those superslut bonobo monkeys and the few other godless creatures like them, the sea turtles and the weird sheep and such, creatures who obviously haven’t read Leviticus. But that’s about it, right? Most animals are devoutly hetero and straight and damn happy about it, right?


New research is revealing so many creatures and species that exhibit homosexual/bisexual behavior of some kind, scientists are now saying there are actually very few, if any, species in existence thatdon’t exhibit it in some way. It’s everywhere: Bison. Giraffes. Ducks. Hyenas. Lions and lambs, lizards and dragonflies, polecats and elephants. Hetero sex. Anal sex. Partner swapping. The works.

Let’s flip that around. Here’s the shocking new truism: In the wilds of nature, to not have some level of homosexual/bisexual behavior in a given species is turning out to be the exception, not the rule. Would you like to read that statement again? Aloud? Through a megaphone? To the Mormon and Catholic churches? And the rest of them, as well? Repeatedly?

Would you like to inform them that such behavior is definitely not, as so many hard-line Christian literalists want to believe, some sort of poison that snuck into God’s perfect cake mix, nor is it all due to some sort of toxic chemical that leeched into the animal’s water supply, suddenly causing all creature to occasionally feel the urge wear glitter and listen to techno and work on their abs?

And so we extend the idea just a little bit. Because if homosexual/bisexual behavior is universal and by design, if gender mutability is actually deeply woven into the very fabric of nature itself, and if you understand that nature is merely another word for God, well, you can only surmise that God is, to put it mildly, much more than just a little bit gay. I mean, obviously.

But let’s be fair. That’s not exactly true. God is not really gay, per se. God is more… pansexual. Omnisexual. Gender neutral. Gender indeterminate. It would appear that God, this all-knowing and all-creating and all-seeing divine energy that infuses and empowers all things at all times everywhere, does not give a flying leather whip about gender.

Or rather, She very much does, but not in the simpleminded, hetero-only way 2,000 years of confused religious dogma would have us all believe.

God’s motto: Look, life is a wicked inscrutable orgy of love and compassion and survival instinct, shot through with pain and longing and death and suffering and far, far too many arguments about who did or did not pay the goddamn mortgage.

Life on Earth is messy and bloody and constantly evolving and transmuting and guess what? So is sexuality, and love, and connection, and what it means to exist. And if you uptight, hairless bipeds don’t soon acknowledge this in a very profound way, well, it ain’t the damn penguins who will suffer for it. You feel me?

This, then, is what science appears to be trying to tell us, has been telling us, over and over again: Nature abides no narrow, simplistic interpretation of its ways. Nature will defy your childish fears and laughable behavioral laws at nearly every turn. God does not do shrill homophobia.

Of course, until very recently, science was also beaten with the stick of right-wing fear for many, many years, told to keep quiet about those damnable facts, or else. Homosexuality is a lifestyle! A choice! And you can be lured into it! Seduced by the evil rainbow! Just like those poor penguins! Right.

Let us be perfectly clear. Not every individual animal necessarily displays homosexual traits. But in every sexually active species on the planet, at least some of them do, for all sorts of reasons, and it’s common and obvious and as normal as a warm spring rain falling on a pod of giddy bottlenose dolphins having group sex off the coast of Fiji.

And either humankind is part of nature and the wanton animal kingdom, a full participant in the messy inexplicable glories of the flesh and spirit and gender play, or we are the aberrant mistake, the ones who are lagging far behind the rest of the kingdom, sad and lost in the eyes of a very, very fluid and increasingly disappointed God.”

This discovery in the animal kingdom ties in well with the simple fact, willfully ignored by so many, that in human societies too, some degree of homosexuality is commonplace.  It is not homosexuality that is perverse and “against nature”, but exclusive heterosexuality.

Read the full article here.

6 Responses to ““God is slightly Gay”: Homosexuality in the animal Kingdom”

  1. Excluded From God’s People: The Problem with “Homosexualitatis Problema” « The Open Tabernacle: Here Comes Everybody Says:

    […] Zoologists have shown that homosexual behaviour occurs throughout the animal world.  (See “God is Slightly Gay“). Physiologists have found some differences between the brains of people with homosexual and […]

  2. triggerfish Says:

    The “just because” theory seems to jusitfy homosexual behavior for those who wantonly seek this unnatural sexual act. Yes; I am a conservatice Christian, and I ‘ve had these sinful things happen to me. It did not feel right biologically nor emotionally and least of all spiritually. I’ll not waste my time on quoting scripture as you probably have had your fill of it and don’t believe it anyway. Therefore I share this simple fact with you; biologically each of our organs performs specific functions. The rectum is for the elimination of waste from our bodies, the penis is for the elimination of waste as well as placing our sperm into the womans vagina for the creation of life; at conception by the way. Our large intestines are not for receiving sperm. Feces and sperm make nothing. Sure you may claim pleasure in many ways, that is fine and dandy. The truth of the matter is that homosexual acts are not biologically compatable. I have left out pleasure, lust, desire as these are common to each act. If you can not comprehend these simple facts there is little help for you. Ever since “sin” entered the world, all is corrupt. This spiritual concept makes sense to me, although I think it will mean little to those of you who choose this sinful and biologically incompatable life. I do not hate you nor condem you as I am a sinner too. I have my weakness of the flesh as well. I would welcome any homosexual person to my church, be friends and share ideas and conversatiion with you. I do not look down on you as we are all equal in that we have all sinned against God. May Jesus Christ our only Lord and Savior lead us to salvation, peace, understanding and love for one another.

    • Terence@queerchurch Says:

      The whole point of this point is that homosexuality is not in any way “unnatural”. That does not make it right, but ir equally does not make it wrong. “Natural Law” is morally neutral. You’re right that you don’t need to quote Scripture at me, but this is not because I “don’t believe” it. It’s because I have taken the trouble to study what the Bible says on the matter. In fact, in a Bible of over 30000 verses, written against a Hellenisitic culture where homoerotic relationships were common and accepted, there are only hald a dozen verses which even appear to condemn them. But even those appearances are deceptive. On the other hand, the Gospels in particular contain many queer values, and clear examples of Christ’s own acceptance of homosexual couples, and other sexual outsiders. The third strand in the Churches claims to oppose homosexuality is a supposed constant tradition. In fact, church teaching and treatment has constantly changed, In early years, the church recognized many openly gay saints, consecrated gay bishops, and blessed same sex unions in churcg, and even buried some in shared tombs, exactly as was sometimes done for married couples.
      But don’t worry, I don’t condemn you for your ignorance. A little reading can soon put that right.

  3. triggerfish Says:

    You speak of the church as if they are right in the growth and docrine over the years, I disagree. Man tends to justify anything that pleases him or twist scripture or biology and “find facts” to give the green light to whatever behavior they liken to.
    My question to you is two fold, do you have an answer to my original reasons why homosexuality is wrong (the biological reason) and what does Gods Word have to say about this act? In my reading of the Bible laying with someone of the same sex or an animal is sinful. I am sure there are many doctrines written by very learned men and the Episcopal church to support your reasons, I just think they are wrong in their understanding of Gods Word. God created man and woman, period. I may appear ignorant to you, but that is of no consequence to me. The one I want to please and obey is Jesus Christ. The fact is your mind is made up as is mine. discussion is fine, but I think we have both made our points. I respect yours, although I believe that homosexuallity is a sin and wrong both morally and biologically.
    In closing, certainly Christ interacted with sinners of all types, that is why He came, to save mankind from their sins. Would you please quote some scripture that have “queer values” as you say ? Thank you.

    • Terence@queerchurch Says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by “You speak of the church as if they are right in the growth and docrine over the years”. I have frequently made the exactly opposite point – that church teaching has regularly changed. I also agree with you, that man tends to justify anything that pleases him. As the historian John Boswell and other have shown, that is precisely the problem with the pseudo-religious opposition to homoerotic relationships: the church has followed popular bigotry, and used religion to justify it
      On Scripture, it may be your reading that lying with someone of the same sex is sinful – there are many who would disagree with you. Is it also your reading that it is sinful to eat shellfish, or to wear clothing of mixed fibres, or to shave your beard if you’re a man? You ask what God says. I answer – nothing. The one you want to please is Jesus Christ. I agree that the Gospel’s are central for a Christian, so what did Jesus say? Nothing at all about homosexuality specifically, but he dis say “euncuchs” are welcome in the kingdom of heaven. This word “eunuch” may be the closest Biblical term we have for the modern “homosexual”.(it certainly refers to sexual minorities and outsiders). What was his example? He willingly agreed to go to the Roman centurion’s house to heal his gay lover; he never married; he chose as his closest friends the unmarried women where marriage was expected for all – Martha & Mary may have been a lesbian couple. He encouraged his followers to leave their families, and kept very close company with the “beloved disciple”, who seemed to have a particularly intimate relationship with him. More generally, he stressed over and over he importance of including everyone, and judging no-one.
      On your point about the biological basis of your claim that every body part has a specific function, I’m not going to waste my breath except to point out that you undermine your own argument
      by describing two for the penis. We could add two for the tongue – talking and tasting. There are other examples.
      I’m really not going to debate further here, in the comments thread. All the question you put I have already dealt with at length in different posts. Browse the archives, and you will find responses.
      But do so please, not at this site, which I have stopped updating, but at my new URL, http://queering-the-church.com/blog
      Or, just follow this link.

      • triggerfish Says:

        Thank you for the interresting debate. Sexual matters aside, the most important thing is to love and follow Jesus Christ. I pray that you do well on your journey and personal relationship with our loving Savior. The peace and grace of Jesus be with you. I am done as well.

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