Warning: This column is rated X, due to graphic content and explicit images of individuals enjoying sex.
This summer lawmakers in every country should be sent for re-education at the University of Oslo's Natural History museum. That includes the many members of our Constitution Drafting Committee who have been heard saying that homosexuality is "against nature".
The museum's "Against Nature" display (www.nhm.uio.no/againstnature/) will open their eyes to the naked truth that, contrary to their belief, Mother Nature doesn't confine herself to the straight and narrow.
First noted by Aristotle 2,300 years ago, homosexual behaviour has since been observed in more than 1,500 species - well documented in a third of those - by scientists. (There's little doubt that the true figure is much higher, with many species too shy to have their sex lives caught on frog-camera. Plus, in many species it's difficult to differentiate between males and females.)
And why haven't most people heard about it? Because until recently it has largely been discounted, glossed over or explained away by the same scientists, out of personal distaste, lack of interest or fear of ridicule.
However they choose to disguise it - struggling for dominance, alliance forming, ritualised fighting, aberration or whatever - when it comes down to it, Homo Sapiens are not the only species that knows, and enjoys, homo sex.
l Virtually all bonobo chimpanzees, considered our closest relatives, are bisexual and certainly not shy about having fun. Relations between either sex also serve to resolve conflict according to the "make love, not war" principle. About two thirds of same-sex acts are between females who typically form strongly bonded enduring relationships with one another.
l Before same-sex mounting, male elephants engage in caressing and affectionate behaviour, such as intertwining their trunks, gently nudging each other, touching mouths in a 'kiss', rolling over one another or sniffing the other's genitalia. African elephants also form long-lasting "companionships". (In contrast, no such relationships have been observed to exist between males and females.)
l Homosexual and heterosexual play occurs equally often among bottlenose dolphins. The males are generally bisexual, with interludes of exclusively homosexual behaviour. Same-sex acts include a kind of "oral sex" when the eponymous snout is put to good use. Males also engage in frottage - the rubbing of genitals against a partner's body.
l Up to 20 per cent of all black swans' annual pairings are between the same sex. It's the homos who remain together for years to make a home for almost a quarter of all families. A male couple may use a "surrogate mother" and chase her away after she lays a clutch of eggs. Another homosexual couple may simply "squat" in the nest of an unlucky heterosexual couple.
Those who can't make it all the way to Scandinavia for the exhibition can read the book "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity", which focuses on mammals and birds, with enough detail to make one blush.
In the face of such ... mounting evidence, we can safely predict a collective screech of brakes and U-turn from prejudiced minds: such animal behaviours aren't worthy of human beings, they'll cry. It's a neat catch-22. Damn the gays if animals don't do it; damn the gays if the animals do. Of course, you would be damning heterosexuals too in the latter case.
(PS: Why isn't a "genetic dead-end" like homosexuality extinct? To be continued…)
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