The birds and the bees (and the higher primates)

The Natural History Museum of Oslo University has opened an exhibition dedicated to homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

Today we know that homosexuality is a common and widespread phenomenon in the animal world. Not only short-lived sexual relationships, but even long-lasting partnerships; partnerships that may last a lifetime.

The exhibit puts on display a small selection among the more than 1500 species where homosexuality have been observed. This fascinating story of the animals’ secret life is told by means of models, photos, texts and specimens. The visitor will be confronted with all sorts of creatures from tiny insects to enormous spermwhales.

How can we know that an animal is homosexual? How can homosexual behaviour be consistent with what we have learned about evolution and Darwinism?

Sadly, most museums have no traditions for airing difficult, concealed, and possibly controversial questions. Homosexuality is certainly such a question. We feel confident that a greater understanding of how extensive and common this behaviour is among animals, will help to de-mystify homosexuality among people. At least, we hope to reject the all too well known argument that homosexual behaviour is a crime against nature.

Naturally (ahem), this has attracted the ire of the usual god-botherers who are happy to ignore inconvenient Scriptural declarations about loving your neighbour when sending the museum directors hate mail. Unfortunately for the bigots, evidence about homosexuality being very much a part of the natural world continues to mount (pardon the pun again…), as shown in an article in US science magazine, Seed, earlier this year. That won’t convince the American (and other) Talibans, of course, but then if it was up to them we’d still be burning witches and thinking that the sun orbited the earth.

2 thoughts on “The birds and the bees (and the higher primates)”

  1. “What’s wrong with burning witches and thinking the sun orbits the earth?”

    Just kidding.
    Actually there probably are people out there who still think the earth is flat and creationism vs evolution in school is still debated in the good old land of the free.
    Here in the land of Oz we’re a bit more enlightened. There was a bit of a minor storm in a teacup a few years ago when a kids program on TV showed a lesbian couple interacting with their daughter.
    which reminds me that I’ve just gotten my copy of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls (2nd printing Oct. 2006) which manages to cover just about all aspects of artistic pornography and has also created something of a controversy although apparently not readily available in the UK owing to the hospital that has copyright on Peter Pan having to get some of the profits from it.

  2. Still no gay marriage in Oz though…

    And I still don’t have a copy of Lost Girls; maybe someone can buy it me for Xmas.

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