Penguins Find Gay Love
by Doug Windsor 365Gay.com from the Web, December 25, 2004
New York City -- Roy and Silo aren't alone.
Earlier this year we reported on the two male penguins at New York's Central Park Zoo who are completely devoted to each other and for the past six years have been inseparable.
Now, researchers from Japan say they've found a number of same-sex pairs of penguins at aquariums in Japan.
The Kyoto news agency reports that Keisuke Ueda, professor of behavioral ecology at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, found about 20 same-sex pairs at 16 major aquariums and zoos.
Like Roy and Silo they shun female companionship, build a nest together, and have sex.
Apparently, lots of sex.
Roy and Silo have even tried to have offspring. Their chief keeper, Rob Gramzay, says that the couple put a rock simulating an egg in their nest and sat on it, keeping it warm in the folds of their abdomens.
Gramzay finally, he gave them a fertile egg that needed care to hatch. Things went perfectly.
Roy and Silo sat on it for the typical 34 days until a chick, Tango, was born.
For the next two and a half months they raised Tango, keeping her warm and feeding her food from their beaks until she could go out into the world on her own.
Zoologists will quickly point out that it is an over simplification to say they are gay, but exactly what binds theses pairs is a mystery.
Ueda believes he has the answer.
He says that it appears to be the result of an imbalance between the numbers of male and female birds.
Penguins in captivity “may be more likely to form same-sex pairs” due to the difficulty of finding partners of the opposite sex Ueda told the news service.
Animal sexuality is a relatively new field. The first book on the subject, Bonobo:
The Forgotten Ape, published in 1995, unleashed a torrent of condemnation for the Christian right.
In 1999, Bruce Bagemihl published Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. It provided an overview of scholarly studies of same-sex behavior in animals.
Bagemihl said homosexual behavior had been documented in some 450 species.
The book was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and other groups in a "friend of the court" brief submitted to the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that led to the Supreme Court striking down the Texas anti-sodomy law.