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God's creatures, gay & all

2010-05-19 11:50

Although we're physically weak enough to get our arses kicked by beasties less than half our size, can succumb to hypothermia if we spend too much time in a beer fridge and are known to drop dead because somebody sneezed on us, we more than make up for our frailty with our killer brains, which ensures our survival on this beautiful, albeit inhospitable planet.

Because we can't really survive anything beyond a well-equipped camping trip, we as a species have become alienated from nature – and if you don't think that deserves a species-wide pat on the back, take a quick look at how non-human animals live. Ew! Gross. And they don't even have the internet.

Which is why any comparison between human and animal behaviour is destined to sound as stupid as it is. Take, for example, the recent study on the Laysan albatrosses in Hawaii, who would be perfect subjects for soft-focus Hallmark love cards if they weren't so goddamned ugly. Thought to be the most monogamous creatures on the planet, they live for 70 years and remain committed to a single partner until they die - of boredom and resentment, I assume.

Laura Bush (the  wife of George, who recently claimed to support gay marriage, perhaps after realising she's spent decades being married to a... well, you know)  once referred to these creatures (who, I might add, shit on each other's feet and shag in public) as a "mascot for pro-family Republicans". I repeat: ew!

But now it turns out that about one third of these committed couples are, in fact, homosexual. Apparently, biologists didn't notice this before because male and female albatrosses are identical – much like pro-family Republicans.

Of course, homosexuality among animals is nothing new. Over a thousand species are known to get their gay on, from butterflies (who didn't see that one coming?) to sea manatees - the bull dykes of the animal kingdom. There's so much of it going about that conservationists must be starting to feel like a gaggle of fag-hags.

And every time another creature is outed as a friend of Dorothy, the same tired question pops up: Is homosexuality natural? I feel almost duty-bound to give my answer: who gives a fuck?

Call me intolerant, but the day I start taking my behavioural cues from creatures that should either be avoided at all costs, on my dinner plate or pesticided out of existence is the day I give up all my worldly possessions and stumble naked out into the veldt to spend the rest of my life as some meerkat's bitch.

Gay activists who buy into this apologist bullshit are harming the cause, just as surely as they do when they try to argue with rabid religious bigots who quote selected passages from ancient biblical texts while ignoring the bits about acceptable methods for murdering your family.

Human homosexuality – like all human behaviour - needs no back-up or justification from creatures whose 'natural' behaviour also includes eating their own young, wallowing in filth and licking each other's genitals without so much as a by-your-leave.

Admire their perceived beauty and respect their right to survive all you want – but turning to animals for examples of acceptable human behaviour is like imitating the table manners of a four year old with Down's Syndrome. Sure, helpless children and little puppies are cute no matter what they do, but YOU try shitting on the living room floor and see where that gets you.

As a sentient species, our lives are pretty much shaped by the most unnatural behaviour you'll find on this pale blue dot – and that's a very, very good thing indeed, because our unnatural nature is the only reason we've stuck around for so long, and sometimes even get to have some fun in the process.

Personally, I like reading books, watching movies, driving my car, eating strange and interesting food from all parts of the world and surfing the intertubes. And although it's unnatural, I also remain unapologetic about living in a flat, in the city, with air-conditioning and a steady supply of food. If we miraculously discovered a new species of sentient fish that lived in underwater cities and lived pretty much the same lives as me, would I suddenly feel that my lifestyle is natural, justified and therefore OK? Nope. I'd simply think "good for them!" and avoid ordering their species next time I'm in a seafood restaurant.

But if you remain unconvinced, and still think we should be taking our sexual cues from creatures that don't have condoms, can't masturbate and never, ever, get off by watching other creatures doing sinful things to each other, perhaps it would be fair to mention another unnatural human invention which is completely absent in all other animals: homophobia.

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