By Enrica Passeri

How many times in your life have you been told that every non-heterosexual orientation or behaviour is against nature? I’m sure it’s happened more times than you can recall, and I’m also sure that not even once has the term “against nature” has been explained with the backing of any sort of scientific knowledge.

This article wants to show how most every religion, social norm and popular belief that labels certain behaviours as “against nature” yet does not have any idea of how nature works.

On Thursday, the 12th of October 2006, The Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo opened the first-ever museum exhibition dedicated to gay animals. The exhibit displayed a significant selection of more than 1500 species in which homosexuality has been observed.

Yes, that is1500 species in which behaviours such as intercourse with a partner of the same sex, and offspring raised by same sex parents. It happens more frequently than you’d think.

Toads, lions, skunks, giraffes, monkeys, penguins and many others, habitually display homosexual relationships, and not just one night stands. More than 20% of seagulls are homosexual and choose their mate for life, having heterosexual intercourses just for procreative purpose. A particular kind of lizard is able to exist without males; there are only females who procreate through parthenogenesis simulating a lesbian sexual intercourse. One black swan couple out of four is composed by males and their reproductive success is superior to that of their heterosexual counterparts; furthermore the offspring’s orientation is not influenced by the parents’ gender.

Cross-dressing and transsexualism too is not just a human prerogative.

The female of opalescent squid can display fake testicles, while the male plagon cuttlefish is able to temporarily transform a side of his body showing feminine features. The garter snake does not just entertain massive orgies, but in the middle of them some males change their skin colours and dress up as females.

The most famous transsexual species in the world is probably the clownfish. These fish are all born males and when necessity strikes, such as females’ death or lack of them), they change sex and become females. So in “Finding Nemo”, Nemo’s mother Coral was originally a male and, after her death, Nemo’s father Marlin should’ve changed into Marlène. And Nemo too, by now, might be a wonderful female clownfish.

The two-spot hawkfish is probably the happiest one though, since it can change from female to male and from male to female at will.

These are just a few examples of how sexuality is expressed in nature.

Now someone could argue that all these examples can be accepted just because the sexual behaviour is functional to the reproduction of the species, while in humans it is not. And they would be right. But then monkeys happened, and with monkeys, sex has never been freer.

Monkeys live in herd and in every herd, every morning the leader has sex with every single member of the group, and it has nothing to do with reproduction, while it has everything to do with social well-being. Monkeys also practice oral sex, genital rubbing with a same sex partner and masturbation and, when they can, females build dildos out of bamboo. So we can safely state that they have sex for fun, and a lot of it.

It should not be a surprise that we share 98% of the gene pool with these monkeys.

So what is really against nature?