World champion boxer Manny Pacquiao came under fire this week after stating in an interview that LGBT people were “worse than animals.”
“It’s common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex?” he said. “Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female … If men mate with men and women mate with women, they are worse than animals.”
The argument that being gay is “unnatural” is far from new, which is puzzling since the animal kingdom is actually teeming with same-sex action.
Obviously, no, we can’t say if an animal is actually gay, bisexual, or what have you. When discussing animals in the wild, the term “homosexual behavior” is often used as an umbrella term for same-sex courtship, non-reproductive sex , pair bonding, and even parenting. Some species only display a few of these behaviors, while others take part in several — and scientists are only beginning to understand both the evolutionary and genetic implications of same-sex behavior in the animal kingdom. Professor Paul Vasey, who studies Japanese macaque behavior, summed it up nicely when he said, “You can’t impose your perspective on the species you’re studying. Attempt to understand the world on it’s own terms.”
1. Penguins are famous for being the best same-sex parents around:
There are countless stories of awesome same-sex parenting penguins. Roy and Silo, Chinstrap penguins like those pictured above, are one of the most well-known.The pair, both male, made headlines in 1999 after trying to hatch a rock at New York City’s Central Park Zoo. Zookeepers ended up providing the couple with a real egg which would hatch to become their chick, Tango.
Sadly the couple would later break up, but nobody said love is easy.
2. Bonobos, relatives of the more well-known chimpanzee, often get kinky with whomever they please:
The highly intelligent, social, and curious bonobo happens to be our closest living relative; sharing 98% of our DNA. They also happen to have the most diverse and active sex-life of perhaps any living creature. Bonobos live in large social groups and often take part in sexual activities with other members, regardless of gender. The species has become infamous for their practice of using peace n’ love over violence to relieve tension.
3. Male bighorn sheep often prefer to be with other rams:
Rams have to be one of the gayest animals out there. No, seriously. Scientists have found that, besides humans, sheep may be the only species where males can express same-sex sexual preferences exclusively. They may not actually go through with mating, but they will completely ignore females, preferring to bond only with each other.
4. Female albatrosses are in it for the long haul:
One study found that nearly thirty percent of Laysan albatross pairs in Oahu, HI, were composed of two females. In other locations nesting same-sex pairs have also been observed. These u-hauling sea birds aren’t alone, many species of gulls have similar documented same-sex behavior and parenting.
5. Lady Japanese macaques like to get jiggy with other lady macaques:
Female Japanese Macaques, also known as “snow monkeys”, often engage in sexual acts with other females. Not only do they get down with one another, but one study found that females use a greater variety of positions and sexual movements than males.
6. Real swans probably inspired all that Black Swan movie drama:
One particular pair of male swans turned heads at Abbotsbury Swannery in 2010 when they set up a little love nest together. Each year the pair would build a nest together, follow through will all the courtship rituals, and totally give the cold wing to females.
7. The king of the jungle likes to rumble:
A majestic pair of lions are practically the poster child for the perfect heterosexual couple, except for the fact that male lions have been documented engaging in sexual activities with the same sex, such as mounting one another. They’ve clearly got pride (sorry).
8. And dolphins don’t always swim straight:
Glee wasn’t totally wrong for referring to intelligent and social dolphins as “gay sharks”. In one published report study male bottlenose dolphins were found to engage in “extensive bisexuality combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality.”
But I’m sure they were ~just friends~.