PinkNews.co.uk News Feed:
“In his 1980 book Homosexual Behaviour: A Modern Reappraisal, psychiatrist Judd Marmor states that homosexuality is far from being "unnatural" in the statistical sense. It occurs in all higher species, even when members of the opposite sex are present and presumably available for mating.”
"Understanding Human Behavior" by James V. McConnel (1986)1
When it comes to the studying of homosexuality in nature the most prodigal studies have to be those collated by Bruce Bagemihl in his book "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity" (1999). Quite rightly it describes itself as "the book that definitely crushes the argument that homosexuality is not natural". Homosexuality is widespread in nature. To say that it is "unnatural" is to say that the stars don't shine!
“Male gorillas court and couple with each other, grizzly bear families have two mothers, male swans form pair-bonds with one another and female long-eared hedgehogs have oral sex. In this book homosexual behaviour is documented in over 450 species of animals.
In the dimly lit undergrowth of a Central American rain forest, jewel-like male hummingbirds flit through the vegetation, pausing briefly to mate now with a male, now with a female. A whale glides through the dark and icy waters of the Arctic [...] her fins and tail caressing another female. Drifting off to sleep, two male monkeys lie gently in each other's arms [in] the ancient jungles of Asia. [...] In a protected New Zealand inlet, a pair of female gulls - mated for life - tend their chicks together. Tiny midges swarm above a bleak tundra of Northern Europe, a whirlwind of mating activity, as males couple with each other in midair. Circling and prancing around her partner, a female antelope courts another female in an ageless, elegant ritual staged on the African Savanna. [...]
The world is, indeed, teeming with homosexual, bisexual and transgendered creatures of every stripe and feather.
More than 130 different bird species worldwide are literally queer.
Species include primates, marine mammals, hoofed mammals, carnivores, marsupials, rodents and insectivores, waterfowl & other aquatic birds, wading birds, shore birds, perching birds and Songbirds and other birds, on every continent and ocean. All observed in the wild, not including any zoo observations.”
"Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity" by Bruce Bagemihl (1999)2
The percent of homosexual behaviour ranges in species from 90% to under 1%. Sometimes almost entire collections are found to be gay, entire troops of Bonobo apes and up to 94% of some populations of Giraffes. All this in nature, not in zoos or in experiments. Of all the species that have been observed to produce gay members, the ratio of gay sexual encounters can be calculated. "Combining these [...] yields a figure of just over 20%: roughly one-fifth of all interactions, on average, are homosexual in mammal and bird species that have [some] form of [sexual same-sex behaviour]"3.
Inside zoos, the same story repeats itself. The Metro newspaper, 2005 Feb 14 (Mon), reported on a case hitting the papers that month. "Bosses at Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany discovered most of its male penguins were in same-sex relationships and not producing offspring, despite there being adequate females present.". But many people discount statistics gathered in zoos because they say that the unnatural circumstances cause animals to be gay, which is what sociologists call "situational homosexuality" in Human beings, such as occurs in prisons, single sex boarding schools, etc. This is why Bagemihl stresses the importance that all his research comes from animals in natural habitats.
To summarize, I refer to the newly opened exhibition "Against Nature?" at the University of Oslo:
“The National History Museum at the University of Oslo has just opened an exhibition of gay animals. Homosexuality has been recorded in some 1500 species so far, and been well documented in about a third of these cases; it has been known since the time of Aristotle, who thought he witnessed two male hyenas having sex with one another. Aside from illustrating homosexuality among an extraordinary variety of creatures, the exhibition shows how sexual stimulation can vary when, at first blush, the mechanical details of how this might work are not obvious to people attempting to draw analogies from their own anatomy. Male Amazonian river dolphins, for example, penetrate the blowholes of other males; female bottlenose dolphins use their snouts as dildos on other females.
Why this behaviour might be favoured by natural selection, though, is a difficult question to answer. In an attempt to do so, the exhibition picks on gay flamingos. Two males raising a chick after one of them had a one-night stand (of sorts) with a female are able to hold a larger territory than male-female partnerships. This suggests a chick with two dads could get more food and therefore have a better chance of survival. [...] One [theory] is that homosexuals assist in the upbringing of their relatives so much that they pass on more of their genes this way than by having children themselves.”
“Born Gay by Dr Glenn Wilson of the Institute of Psychiatry and Dr Qazi Rachman of the University of East London [...] summarizes the latest research into the psychobiology of sex orientation, concluding that studies with twins show that around 30 to 50 per cent of sexual orientation is due to genes. The rest is the result of processes in the womb. [...] According to the researchers, there is much evidence to contradict claims that homosexuality is caused by social factors, such as seduction, or that it can be learnt.”
The Independent on Sunday (2005)5
Further studies have found that in identical twins "if one of a pair (regardless of sex) is homosexual, the other has a 50% chance of being so, too"6. "Jerome Goldstein, director of the San Francisco Clinical Centre, addressing 3,000 neurologists at the 21st meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Lisbon" in 2011 May confirmed that sexual orientation "is primarily neurobiological at birth"7.
Although not common in the UK, discredited and wrong ideas that homosexuality can be 'cured' have wide support in the USA. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, a widely respected authority, issued a statement as recently as 2010 Feb reiterating "that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. [...] There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish''7.
Some brain structures of homosexual men (the amygdala and the interstitial nuclei) resemble those of homosexual women, and some structures of homosexual women resembled those of heterosexual men. Other neurological cross-sex similarities have been found. These, combined with twin studies, confirm that the basis of homosexuality is beyond any active social training.7
Ray Blanchard, a Toronto sociologist and scientist, investigated a trend he noticed: gay men have more older brothers than straight men. "The more elder brothers a man had, the more likely he was to be gay. Neither elder sisters nor younger siblings of either sex had any effect, but each additional elder brother increased his chance of being gay by about 33% from the population average of one man in 50. [...] Hard as it was to explain, though, the finding was replicated again and again, across different cultures, eras and even psychiatric groups"8.
The cause of this was studied by Dr Bogaert from Brook University in St Catharines, Ontario. He found that men who were brought up with non-biological older brothers were not more likely to be gay. Even if children were adopted from birth, if their mother has had previous boys, the male child is more likely to be gay. There is a solid, biological (yet non-genetic), non-societal cause of homosexuality. "He speculates that, for reasons as yet unknown, a mother's immune system takes note of the number of male offspring and that each succeeding male foetus is subjected to increase levels of antibodies. These somehow affect its development"8. Dr Bogaert calculated that statistically, one gay man in 7 is gay for no other reason than that their mum had previous sons. Whether they were raised in the same house, or not.
Abrahamic religions have contributed to the most negative and destructive attitudes towards sexual issues, especially homosexuality. Christian and Islamic groups are the most vocal assailants on any legal or societal moves towards tolerance and equality. The liberal wings of some of these religions have adapted to the wide (European) acceptance of homosexuality. Many traditional religions reject the scientific, medical and psychological knowledge that we have gained about sexuality and regard homosexuality as "unnatural", a "choice" or a "moral evil". These religions are themselves immoral and evil in their attitude, causing hatred, bigotry, violence and oppression in the name of God. Homosexual communities have become accustomed to the ranting of religious fundamentalists and traditionalists, and this causes a strong anti-religious resentment amongst them.
In the wider religious scene things are much healthier. Eastern history has produced less of the out-and-out violence against homosexuality. New religious movements and Earth religions are largely accepting of homosexuality, as these religions are more in touch with the natural world. Although there are Pagans, Satanists, Wiccans, etc, who do not like homosexuality very few make hateful statement such as those made by Muslim and Christian authorities. Although Judaism does not accept homosexuality in theory, Jews have not made many such hateful comments, but partially this may be because Judaism has not yet fully faced the issues although liberal Jewish groups match liberal Christianity in their tolerance.
Many animal species share a common set of sexualities: heterosexuals, homosexuals and plenty of dysfunctionals, plus lots of situation-dependent behaviour. Monogamy, polygamy, polyandry and all those other social combinations of the basic sexualities are also present throughout the animal world (including Humanity of course). But although this may look like enough diversity, there is more, because all of these are variants of bi-gender behaviour alone. Throughout half of the history of life on Earth, living things reproduced asexually, through simple duplicative division, in a variety of ways. The ancient single-celled animal Tetrahymena thermophilia manages a total of seven different sexes9. Sexual diversity, like the rest of living complexity10, had to undergo a slow process of evolution, proceeding first through isogamy where there are no genders. All this should put human wranglings about the sanctity of the nuclear family, or arguments about what sexualities are 'normal' into perspective, because truly everything is natural in nature. We have to work out simply how to live in peace with the realities of sexual diversity in our own species.
I've taken the above paragraphs from other pages I've written:
Taken from "Marriage: Its Diversity and Character" by Vexen Crabtree (2004).
I have documented many of the places in the world where tolerance and equality have been victorious over traditional cultures and religions:
“Prejudices against homosexuality were not always encoded into law, however. In the time before the dark ages, European communities were variously accepting of gay marriage. But the Christian age of faith saw violent intolerance sweep the continent as certain types of marriage were made illegal and transformed into social taboos. People could only marry if it fit the Christian prejudices of what marriage should be. Islam arose also, and held to similar monotheistic patriarchal norms. Thankfully, since the enlightenment, much of the religious damage to marriage has been undone and in many countries adults are free to marry whom they choose. Starting with Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands the 90s saw the beginning of the gay rights movements victories over established prejudice in an increasing number of developed countries. There is not a single case in all these victories where there have not been multiple large and mainstream Christian groups running campaigns to prevent equal rights for gays. The Catholic Church and the vast majority of Christian denominations continue to battle at local and European levels to repeal those rights already attained. The Catholic Church has gained some ground in 1997 in exempting itself from some European gay rights conventions, and the Church of England has also succeeded in partially exempting itself from UK employment anti-discrimination laws with regards to homosexuality. The traditional churches were wrong about slavery and anti-black racism, and they continue to do wrong on the issue of discrimination against homosexuals. Eventually, when enough of their youth have grown up within gay-tolerant society, the Churches will change to embrace homosexuals equality as they did to embrace abolitionism and race equality.”
View the page to view a year-by-year summary of attained rights for gay marriage across the world.
Anti-discrimination laws have been passed in the UK (Equality Act 2006) making it illegal for adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex parents. This enforces equality. It will mean that more children are kept out of agencies and are given stable homes. There is no rational reason to find this offensive or wrong, but many try to give worried-sounding excuses to explain their disguised dislike.
Some common and ignorant complaints about gay adoption are iterated below, and countered:
The most vocal opposition of anything that provides equality for gays are always Christians and Muslims. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales, backed by the Church of England12 and the Muslim Council of Britain13, have led a campaign to get the government to give exceptions to Catholic Adoption agencies so that they won't have to give equal rights to gay parents. He says that for reasons of conscience and morality, Catholics cannot be made to comply with the law. Tony Blair is rejecting their case, but has given them extra time to "adjust" to the new laws - they won't have to fully comply until the end of 200812. We will discuss the Catholic's pro-discrimination lobby later.
Anti-discrimination laws are passed to protect minorities from prejudice actions. The actions of prejudice, are wrong. Exemptions from anti-discrimination laws, therefore, are also wrong. An exception requires exceptional circumstances. That Catholic authorities don't like gays (and act on that dislike) is exactly what the law wants to stop. That they believe gays shouldn't adopt is also not the issue.
“Special religious rights are a travesty of justice and a victory for stupidity. The more special religious rights that exist, the worse society has become and the more democracy is undermined. The most extreme example is the Vatican, where all laws are religious, and there is zero democracy. The government passes laws because it is necessary and because it is for the greater good. The more exceptions there are to those laws, the more democracy is weakened. This seems especially true where religious superstitions replace the rule of law. For example in Islamic states where Sharia law is declared, or during the Dark Ages when Christian superstitions cost many people their lives (not to mention the torture!), society is at its worst. Theocracy is the worst form of government, and special religious rights are exceptional in their ability to uphold discrimination and barbarianism in the face of normal moral legislation. People do not have a right to do anything they wish. Just because something is a persons' religious belief does not give them extra rights to do it.”
The seven Catholic adoption agencies12 account for only 4% of all children placed each year11 in the UK, and their spokesperson has said that they would rather close than allow gay parents to adopt children12. Elsewhere, this is exactly what they have done. Similar legislation has been passed in a number of states in the USA, "with the result that the Catholic Church from Boston to San Francisco has closed down its adoption agencies", especially after the Pope Ratzinger once said that these anti-discrimination laws are "the legalisation of evil"13.
They would rather allow the continued suffering of homeless and abused children (and discriminate against gays, too) - rather than infringe on their own religious beliefs. Their religion is more important to them than the welfare of children. The government is making plans on how to amalgamate their work into other, non-discriminatory agencies, in order to prevent children being harmed by the Church's refusal to entertain equality.
There is an economic contradiction in granting Catholic Adoption Agencies exemption from the Law of the Government... the fact that in part, such agencies are funded by the government:
“Catholic adoption agencies receive public money for their efforts - both directly, in the form of grants, and indirectly through the tax break that any charity receives. If they are exempted from the law, they should also be relieved of subsidies from the taxpayers whose representatives approved it.”
Thankfully, the Government has indeed taken the line emplored by The Economist. At the end of 2007 Jan, Downing Street announced that "Catholic adoption agencies must comply with non-discrimination laws by the end of 2008 or lose all access to public funds, Downing Street said yesterday"12.
“The communities secretary, Ruth Kelly, a devout Catholic, last night hailed the deal as "a positive breakthrough in eliminating discrimination" [and] insisted that despite her faith she supported the right of gay parents to adopt, saying: "We all know that there is a wide range of potential adoptive parents out there, including lesbians and gay men, who can provide a loving home for children." Her critics claim she was arguing for an exemption for the church, but her allies say she was working for the kind of compromise announced yesterday.
The compromise was welcomed by the education secretary, Alan Johnson, a strong opponent of exemption, who said: "This is the right outcome for all concerned because it puts the interests of children first. We reject discrimination in all its forms, particularly when that deprives our most vulnerable children of a stable, loving and secure home."”
Prime Minister Tony Blair voiced his opposition of discrimination, and said, "There is no place in our society for discrimination [...] that's why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple. And that way there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering public-funded services from regulations that prevent discrimination"14.
In some parts of the world you are hated because of the way you were born. In some parts of the world, teachers cannot teach sex education or contraceptive advice because of religious dogma. Thank fate that you are in the UK. Right?
"April Bombings", Simon Fanshawe, 1999, London, UK
"...Of course the first priority was to get the killer, but the real difficulty is to imprison the hatred he unleashed. We all want these kinds of people to be different from us, even mad, definitely evil. But however hard it is you have to accept that the bombing is just the illogical conclusion of everyday prejudice.
Listen to the phones at Stonewall on the Saturday after the bomb and the evidence was there. As the debris was being cleared and the families and friends began to weep and the wave of shock turned to despair and loss, the calls started coming in. "We're so very sorry". "Is there anything we can do?" Real sympathy. Tears on the switchboard. Family and friends and even my cleaning lady sweetly rang to check that I was fine. But then, "I've got a box of nails here, shall I send it to you?". "They should have bombed every pub in the street". "Fuck off nancies". "Gas the queers". They go on and on. Twenty five calls by lunchtime. These words are the second cousins of the bombs. As anyone who has ever been called Nigger, Paki or Poof knows.
Banjamin aged 17 hasn't been called a poof yet, because he barely knows it himself. And his friends definitely don't. On Friday as the news was coming in, his head was reeling with confusion. As the pictures of the outrage filtered onto the screen, terror sprung to the back of his throat. And then one his 'mates' said "Good" They should have killed the lot of them". Benjamin fled and wept for an hour on the telephonic shoulder of a friend of mine. That 'Good' is the bomb that blows a hole in Benjamin's idea of society.
Letter from Angela Mason, Executive Director, 1999 July 19
"It is apparent from last week's Sunday Telegraph that Baroness Young and the Christian Institute (a far right religious organisation) are supporting a 'moral crusade' against NatWest because of its pro-equality stance. They believe that existing and potential NatWest customers should change their accounts and boycott the bank."
“Private homosexuality was a criminal offence in Britain up until - astonishingly - 1967. In 1954 the British mathematician Alan Turing, a candidate along with John von Neumann for the title of father of the computer, committed suicide after being convicted of the criminal offence of homosexual behaviour in private. [...] As the pivotal intellect in the breaking of the German Enigma codes, [...] after the war, when Turing's role was no longer top secret, he should have been knighted and fêted as a saviour of his nation. Instead, this gentle, stammering, eccentric genius was destroyed, for a 'crime', committed in private, which harmed nobody. Once again, the unmistakable trademark of the faith-based moralizer is to care passionately about what other people do (or even think) in private. [...] He was offered a choice between two years in prison (you can imagine how the other prisoners would have treated him) and a course of hormone injections which could be said to amount to chemical castration, and would have caused him to grow breasts. His final, private choice was an apple that he had injected with cyanide.”
This concern for private affairs, which was introduced into Western countries under the Christian dominion of ages past, is now thankfully being systematically (but slowly) removed from public law. In "Blasphemy and Censorship: Christianity and Islam" by Vexen Crabtree (2012) I document another example of tolerance versus institutionalized anachronistic religious authoritarianism.
“In some non-Western cultures, homosexual relations are accepted or even encouraged among certain groups. The Batak people of northern Sumatra, for example, permit male homosexual relationships before marriage. At puberty, a boy leaves his parents' house and sleeps in a dwelling with a dozen to fifteen males of his age or older. Sexual partnerships are formed between couples in the group, and the younger boys are initiated into homosexual practices. This situation continues until young men marry. Once married, most, but not all, men abandon homosexual activities. Among the people of East Bay, a village in Melanesia in the Pacific, homosexuality is similarly tolerated, although again only in males. Prior to marriage, while living in the men's house, young men engage in mutual masturbation and anal intercourse. Homosexual relationships also exist, however, between older men and younger boys, often involving boys too young to be living in the men's house. Each type of relationship is completely acceptable and discussed openly. Many married men are bisexual, having relations with younger boys while maintaining as active sexual life with their spouses. But homosexuality without an interest in heterosexual relationships seems to be unknown in some cultures.”
Homosexuality is thoroughly natural. It occurs in a massive range of animal species, including humans, so appears to be part of the genetic makeup of life in general. The colourful and varied ways that wild animal species find to express intentional sexuality with other is surprising and sometimes ingenious, like the male dolphins who penetrate each other's blowholes. Biological causes of homosexuality have been found in Human beings. All this points to the fact that homosexuality is a part of the design of nature. If nature was designed by God, then watching Bonobo Apes for a while is convincing proof that God certainly does not mind gay sex! Homosexuals have been, and still are, persecuted by religious bodies throughout the world. They are discriminated against by Christian and Muslim companies in Western countries, and imprisoned and criminalized in others. This history of intolerance stems from long campaigns orchestrated by traditional religions. Modern religions, such as Paganism and the New Age, are accepting, as is the rest of society in general.
Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (1999). Hardback.
Sociology (1997). Hardback 3rd edition. First edition was 1989. Published by Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishers Ltd. The Amazon link is to a newer version.
McConnel, James V.
Understanding Human Behavior (1986). Hardback 5th edition. Originally published 1974. CBS College Publishing, Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York, USA.