Gay dolphins and bisexual bonobos: Exhibition fights 'unnatural' homophobia in humans

Homosexuality and gender diversity are not immoral or unnatural, according to a science exhibition in Switzerland.

In nature, same-sex relationships are an everyday occurrence and generate social cohesion, said Christian Kropf, a biologist at the University of Bern's Institute of Ecology and Evolution and scientific curator of the "Queer — Diversity is in our nature" exhibition.

"Many people think that homosexuality and being queer are marginal and perverse phenomena. They say they are unnatural," Kropf said. "But this is nonsense!"


Kropf's exhibition in Switzerland's capital strives to display the diversity of gender and sexual orientation within humans and other species, SWI (a Swiss news outlet) reported Friday.

To bridge nature with society, the exhibition presents biological studies to confront contemporary debates on homosexuality, including the finding that same-sex relationships have been observed in at least 1,500 species.

Male bottlenose dolphins and European rams are prime examples of species capable of forming lasting same-sex relationships, Kropf said.

"Male dolphins stick their penises everywhere, even in their partner's blowhole," he added, saying 6% of rams exclusively mate with other males.

"The reasons for homosexual relationships are not always clear, but we do know that they strengthen social bonds and can contribute to group unity," he said.

Same-sex behavior within the dolphin community may be integral for maintaining social organization, according to findings from Murdoch University.

Across the animal kingdom, it can foster bonds and hierarchies, the report read.

Bonobos perform same-sex acts on each other to resolve disputes and ease tensions, the exhibition purports.

The idea of changing sexes is also entirely natural, according to the exhibition.

"Nature knows no limits," Kropf said, referring to how several species change sex throughout their lives.

Schizophyllum commune, a fungus, has 23,328 sexes, which act as mating types, according to the exhibition.

Hermaphroditism, the state of an individual having both male and female genitalia, is neither rare nor entirely disadvantageous, Kropf said.

"The hermaphrodite animal has the option of [self-fertilization]," he said. "This is not necessarily the best option as it reduces genetic variability, but in the absence of a partner, it's better than giving up reproduction altogether."

Given the evidence, the biologist argued that the acceptance of homosexuality and gender diversity is the norm in nature, while homophobia and discrimination are unnatural.

"I don't know of a single case of homosexual individuals being [marginalized] or disadvantaged in the animal world," he said.

Kropf hopes the exhibition at the Bern Museum will promote tolerance and openness.


It will stay open until March 2023.

Original Location: Gay dolphins and bisexual bonobos: Exhibition fights 'unnatural' homophobia in humans


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