Is it Natural?

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 19, 2008 | Categories: Lesbians & Gays

Ellen DeGeneres, 50, and Portia de Rossi, 36, seem to think so.  

As gay couples celebrate their newfound right to marry in California, opposition groups, including a few  from our own dear Mother Church, will rally to  fight the ruling.      Many will struggle with this question: Is homosexuality natural?

Nature seems to think so. Same-sex sex, including  one-night-stands, oral sex, mutual masturabation, parental relationships, bonded couples, serial monogamy,  and multiple couplings have been observed in about 1,500 animal species, including bottlenose dolphins,  bonobo chimpanzees,  American bison, giraffes, gray whales, walrus,  Kob antelopes, Japanese macaques, and–how could I leave them out–penguins and seagulls.

Here’s a description of a female-female Kob antelope encounter: “On average, females mount with other females a couple of times an hour during mating season. Homosexual mounting encompasses almost 9% of all sexual activities within these hoofed   mammals in the wild. While courting, the pursuer slides up behind a pal and raises her foreleg, touching the other female between her legs. This leggy foreplay ultimately leads to mounting.”gay_kob_antelope_03_10.jpg

Makes sense to me!

“Not every sexual act has a reproductive function,” said Janet Mann, a biologist at Georgetown University who studies dolphins (homosexual behavior is very common in these marine mammals.) “That’s true of humans and non-humans.”

Some scientists have proposed being gay may serve its own evolutionary purpose.

“It could be a way that you strengthen bonds–that’s one hypothesis,” Mann told Live Science. “Another is that it could be practice for heterosexual sex. Bottlenose dolphin calves mount each other a lot. That might benefit them later on.”

Marlene Zuk, a biologist at the University of California, Riverside, suggested that gay individuals contribute to the gene pool of their community by nurturing their relatives’ young without diverting resources by having their own offspring.

The one thing that does seem to be exclusive to humans is homophobia.

“It’s a very interesting question as to why anybody ever cares,” Mann said. “There are different theories about why people find it threatening. Some think it disrupts male bonds, like you’re not playing for the right team. The funny thing is people say homosexuality is unnatural, that nonhumans don’t engage in homosexual behavior, but that’s not true. Then they’ll say it’s base and animalistic.”

Humans resistance to the idea of homosexuality extends even to research in behavior in animals. Scientists who study the topic are often accused of trying to forward an agenda, and their work can come under greater scrutiny than that of their colleagues who study other topics, Mann said. “It’s kind of a shame because I think that probably is a reason why people don’t look at it more,” Mann said. “That’s probably why we haven’t gotten further. You would think that we’d know more than we do by now.”

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