Share Your Stories With Us

Some History of LGBT Related Laws

History of LGBT-Related Laws

Taken From WikiPedia

Throughout history and across cultures, the regulation of sexuality reflects broader cultural norms.

Most of the history of sexuality is unrecorded. Even recorded norms do not always shed full light on actual practices, as it is sometimes the case that historical accounts are written by foreigners with cryptic political agendas.

In the earlier centuries of ancient Rome (particularly during the Roman Republic) and prior to its Christianization, the Lex Scantinia forbade homosexual acts. In later centuries during, men of status were free to have sexual intercourse, heterosexual or homosexual, with anyone of a lower social status, provided that they remained dominant during such interaction. During the reign of Caligula, prostitution was legalized and taxed, and homosexual prostitution was seen openly in conjunction with heterosexual prostitution. The Warren Cup is a rare example of a Roman artefact that depicts homosexuality that was not destroyed by Christian authorities, although it was suppressed. A fresco from the public baths of the once buried city of Pompeii depicts a homosexual and bisexual sex act involving two adult men and one adult woman. The Etruscan civilization left behind the Tomb of the Diver, which depicts homosexual men in the afterlife.

In feudal Japan, homosexuality was recognized, between equals (bi-do), in terms of pederasty (wakashudo), and in terms of prostitution. The Samurai period was one in which homosexuality was seen as particularly positive. In Japan, the younger partner in a pederastic relationship was expected to make the first move; the opposite was true in ancient Greece. Homosexuality was later briefly criminalized due to Westernization.

The berdache two-spirit class in some Native American tribes are examples of ways in which some cultures integrated homosexuals into their society by viewing them, not with the homosexual and heterosexual dichotomy of most of the modern world, but as twin beings, possessing aspects of both sexes.

The ancient Law of Moses (the Torah) forbids men lying with men (intercourse) in Leviticus 18 and gives a story of attempted homosexual rape in Genesis in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities being soon destroyed after that. The death penalty was prescribed.

Similar prohibitions are found across Indo-European cultures in Lex Scantinia in Ancient Rome and nith in protohistoric Germanic culture, or the Middle Assyrian Law Codes dating 1075 BC.

Laws prohibiting homosexuality were also passed in communist China. (The People's Republic of China neither adopted an Abrahamic religion nor was colonized, except for Hong Kong and Macau which were colonized with Victorian era social mores and maintain separate legal system from the rest of the PRC.) Homosexuality was not decriminalized there until 1997. Prior to 1997, homosexual in mainland China was found guilty included in a general definition under the vague vocabulary of hooliganism, there are no specifically anti-homosexual laws.

In modern times eight countries have no official heterosexist discrimination. They are Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Spain. This full non-discrimination includes the rights of marriage and adoption. Two additional countries have marriage rights for same-sex couples, namely Portugal and Canada, but in Portugal this right does not include same-sex adoption, and in Canada it varies by jurisdiction (it is legal everywhere except in Nunavut and Yukon). The Canadian Blood Services’ policy indefinitely defers any man who has sex with another man, even once, since 1977. LGBT people in the USA face different laws for certain medical procedures than other groups. For example, gay men have been prohibited from giving blood since 1983, and George W. Bush's FDA guidelines barred them from being sperm donors as of 2005, even though all donated sperm is screened for sexually-transmitted diseases and even the most promiscuous heterosexual men are not barred from donating.

Appreciation to AGM for his contribution.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teenage girls ‘kicked gay man as he lay unconscious’

Teenage girls ‘kicked gay man as he lay unconscious’

by Staff Writer,
23 November 2010, 3:05pm
Ruby Thomas and Rachel Burke are accusing of stamping and kicking Ian Baynham, a 63-year-old civil servant who died 18 days after he was knocked to the floor last September in Trafalgar Square.
A jury at the Old Bailey heard today that Mr Baynham, who had been out in London celebrating a new job, was punched by 20-year-old Joel Alexander and fractured his skull as he fell to the ground.
Ms Thomas, 18, and Mr Alexander, both from south-east London, deny manslaughter and affray.
Ms Burke was not present at court today and the jury was told not to speculate on reasons for her absence.
Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told the court that Mr Baynham was attacked on September 25th last year as he walked through Trafalgar Square with a male friend.
He said that Ms Thomas and Ms Burke began shouting homophobic abuse at the pair and became involved in an altercation with Mr Baynham.
Ms Thomas is said to have slapped Mr Baynham, who hit her back. He was then knocked to the floor by a punch from Mr Alexander, the court heard.
The BBC reports Mr Altman said: “The story of this case is the all-too-familiar story of drunkenness and loutish behaviour, though these defendants went far beyond anti-social behaviour.
“They [Ms Thomas and Ms Burke] put the boot into Mr Baynham who was clearly flat out on his back, unconscious and completely distressed.”
He added: “Shocked onlookers saw repeated stamps on Mr Baynham as well as forceful kicks.”
The trial continues.

Pentagon: No Gays Were Discharged In Past Month

By Lisa Leff
Associated Press
Monday, November 22, 2010; 8:46 PM
SAN FRANCISCO -- No U.S. service members have been discharged for being openly gay in the month since the Defense Department adopted new rules surrounding the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Monday.

Under new rules adopted Oct. 21, Defense Secretary Robert Gates put authority for signing off on dismissals in the hands of the three service secretaries.

Before then, any commanding officer at a rank equivalent to a one-star general could discharge gay enlisted personnel under the 1993 law that prohibits gays from serving openly in uniform.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that no discharges have been approved since Oct. 21.

Smith did not know if the absence of recent discharges was related to the new separation procedures. The Pentagon has not compiled monthly discharge figures for any other months this year, she said.

Based on historical trends, however, it appears the change, as well as moves by Gates and President Barack Obama to get Congress to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," has caused discharge rates to fall dramatically, said Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, a pro-repeal think tank based at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"Statistically, it would be extremely unlikely if we had a month in which there were no gay discharges," Belkin said, noting that 428 gay and lesbian service members were honorably discharged under the ban in 2009. "When you require a service secretary to sign off on a discharge, you are basically saying, 'We don't want any people in this category discharged unless there is an exceptional situation.'"

A month without "don't ask, don't tell" discharges was welcome news, said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Still, the organization continues to hear daily from military personnel who are under investigation for being gay and face the possibility of being fired.

"We have clients who are still under investigation, who are still having to respond, and in fact we have a client under investigation right now under suicide watch," Sarvis said. "So 'don't ask, don't tell' has not gone away."

Gates announced the change requiring the top civilian officials with the armed forces to personally approve "don't ask, don't tell" discharges after a federal judge in California ordered the military to immediately stop enforcing its ban on openly gay troops, declaring the 17-year-old policy unconstitutional.

An appeals court subsequently froze the judge's order until it could consider the broader constitutional issues in the case.

Putting responsibility for firing gay personnel in the hands of the three service secretaries was not designed to slow the rate of discharges, Gates said at the time. Rather, concentrating that authority was meant to ensure uniformity and care in enforcement at a time of legal uncertainty, he said in a memo outlining the new rules.

Gates since has urged the Senate to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" before a new Congress takes office in January. He said this week he plans to release a monthslong study on how lifting the gay service ban would affect the armed forces and could be carried out on Nov. 30.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homophobic attack mars Australian gay marriage rally

Homophobic attack mars Australian gay marriage rally

A rally aiming to put pressure on politicians to change the policy over gay marriage in Melbourne has been marred by a homophobic attack on a party candidate on Saturday.
Monday, 22 November 2010
20 November 2010
A rally aiming to put pressure on politicians to change the policy over gay marriage in Melbourne has been marred by a homophobic attack on a party candidate on Saturday.

The attack was carried out on Martin Leahy, a Sex Party candidate, during the parade through central Melbourne, according to the Sydney Star Observer. 

The newspaper reports how Mr. Leahy was head butted and hit in the face during an altercation with two men – thought to be in their late teens – who were not involved in the demonstration.

Mr. Leahy, who suffered cuts to his nose, said: “I told them to leave it alone and that’s when they turned on me”, after the attackers were heard using homophobic language.

More than a thousand people took to the streets in the rally calling for equal rights on same-sex marriage, with the aim of persuading the public not to vote for parties that oppose gay marriage in a state election later this month.

Comedian Josh Thomas joined a number of politicians and celebrities at the rally, and he told ABC News: “I just don’t understand people that are against it – I don’t understand their points, If you don’t want to get married to a gay person that’s fine, but why would you want to stop other people from being normal? It makes no sense.”

Another attendee of the march, Bronwyn Pike, the current Education, Skills and Workforce Participation Minister for Victoria, told the broadcaster: “I support gay marriage, there are lots of people within the Labor Party who support gay marriage, many of them are standing with me today. 

“I think this is a journey that’s unstoppable and I think we will see full marriage equality in this country in the not too distant future.”

Earlier this month, Brian Walters, who is standing as a Green candidate for Melbourne in the state election this month told The Age newspaper he would introduce a private member’s bill to allow lesbian and gay weddings if he won the seat.

Violence Mars St. Petersburg Gay Rights Demo

Violence Mars St. Petersburg Gay Rights Demo

A gay rights demonstration in St. Petersburg, the first such state-sanctioned event to be held in Russia, was greeted by egg-throwing protestors on Saturday.
Radio Free Europe reports that “Orthodox Christians and other radicals” tried to break up the gay rights march, which lasted less than one hour due to the violence. Antigay demonstrators threw eggs and shouted insults, leading to the arrest of 10 people.
The dozen or so gay rights marchers were outnumbered by protesters including “old ladies and skinheads,” according to Agence France-Presse.
Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the repeated bans on gay pride parades in Moscow put Russia in violation of the European Human Rights Convention.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Countries Vote To Accept Execution Of Gays

Countries vote to accept execution of gays

The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.
Friday, 19 November 2010
18 November 2010

United Nations building The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.

For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – gay rights activists say the vote to remove that listing is “dangerous and disturbing.”

The UN resolution urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities.

Others protected by the resolution were human rights defenders (like journalists, lawyers and demonstrators), street children and members of indigenous communities.

But now sexual orientation has been taken out of the list. The amendment was supported by Benin in Africa on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly. It passed on a narrow vote of 79 for, 70 against , 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

Some of those voting to remove sexual orientation were countries where gays are known to be or thought to be executed or summarily killed including Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq.

The UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and many European countries voted in favour of gays.

Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said: “This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development. It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalise homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalising homosexuality.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gay vs g0y (g-Zero-y)

Recently I had a discussion with an online friend about sexuality, relationships, religion and stereotypes. We found that we have similar preferences in some of those topics.

It started me thinking about the best way to influence Gay culture in a positive way while keeping our minority true to those who paved the way for the current Gay Rights Movement.

I've selected excerpts from our discussion that were relevant and didn't delve to deeply into personal matters. The following quotes are the result.

My friend:
I like men who are in shape... chest hair is really hot to me..... And it might be strange, but I'm not into anal sex that much... Maybe I identify more with G0Y (g-zero-y) than gay? Have you heard of it?

Yes, I've heard of g0y before and believe it or not I identify with that movement as well. I'm not "Gay" as society has depicted us. I believe 90% of homosexuals identify with g0y more than gay. All of us are tired of the stereotypes. Society perpetuates these stereotypes in Mainstream Media. Young Gay men are affected by this portrayal and they tend to emulate the stereotype because that is what they think being Gay is. I grew up in a time when being a 'Gay' stereotype would cause you a lot of problems. We were forced to remain in the closet or risk being rejected by everyone. It was a hard time my friend.

Perhaps that is why I have a lot of tolerance for the prancing and dancing fairies we see at the Gay Pride Marches. These young men are doing us a service as well as embarrassing our community. They are forcing society to accept us - they are on the front lines and they take all the heat for us. We can sit back at home watching it all unfold before us while we risk nothing because we remain silent against the oppression of our minority. I don't like the little 'Nancy Boys' nor am I attracted to them but don't kid yourself - they are doing the dirty work for all of us. Don't forget that. I don't mean to preach but I just wanted to remind you of the situation we all face.

I've always enjoyed oral sex much more than anal sex. That's just my preference. Anal sex is fine but only between people in a committed relationship be it Gay OR Straight. The pleasure of anal sex diminishes over time but the pleasure of oral sex lasts a lifetime - I can vouch for that! LOL!!!

As far as religions go - I was raised in a Southern Baptist home and went to church 3 times a week - Sunday morning for Sunday School and then church service afterwards and Wednesday evening church service. My family was always aware of my 'difference' and they protected me from much of the pitfalls many Gays had to endure. I have disassociated myself from any religion as a result of the hatred of homosexuals that is so widespread throughout all religions. That is not to say I am faithless. I have my own belief system and that works great for me.

I hope I haven't offended or bored you with all of this but I thought I would share a little more about myself tonight.

Urban Dictionary Online Defines G-0-Y (G-Zero-Y):

G0Y (G-ZERO-y) is a guy who finds men attractive, but (for whatever reason) is offended by the stigma that currently defines the 'gay community' in the public psyche. A G0Y recognizes that the "gay-male" community tends to embrace every gender-bending act, fetish & affectation and include those things in the general image that "gay" projects publicly. As an example look up gay pride parade on Google and you will see many examples of the associations that the word gay represents. G0YS reject those associations completely & consider it a form of prejudice against men who love men. Behaviorally: Anal-sex is innately shunned by g0y men - as it represents, to them, the ultimate form of sexual disrespect whether it be male/male or male/female. G0y men know that anal-Sex is the mechanism for the EXPLOSIVE SPREAD of Sexually Transmitted Diseases over the globe. Other distasteful stereotypes include (but are not limited to): Effeminate behavior, extreme passivity (like cowardice) & drag. G0Y men don't call other men "girl", "bitch", "queen", etc. G0y men refuse to be defined by the gay community. As G0y men we accept that we are born homosexual but we choose not to be gay, this doesn't make us gay-lite or homophobic. We are self identified homosexual men.How can we who state we are homosexual or bisexual be homophobic? We do not hate gays we just know that the anus is not a sexual organ and wasn't meant to be used as one.
"Oh, you know he's g0y, he's into men, but not gays."

Of course, you must consider the source of this definition. In fact I had to edit the definition to a more understable version because it was almost unfathomable in it's original form - or at least I couldn't understand it as it was.

The explanation this definition offers seems heavy handed and anti-gay but that is acceptable to me because who ever wrote it is probably suffering from low self-esteem and self-loathing related to their homosexual feelings. I'm not saying they are in denial but they do have some issues with  Gay people in general.

The idea of a sub-group of Gay men who reject the effeminate stereotype that has saddled all Gay men is one I support. I do not identify with men who try to behave as women. I have a lot of Gay friends and none of them identify with flaming Gays either. In fact, I do not have any friends who fit that description. I believe the vast majority of Gay men are masculine and desire masculine partners.

I respect everyone's freedom to be who they are and if some wish to behave as feminine as possible then more power to them. It seems unfair to allow them to have center stage in society's eye while the other 95% of Gay men remain invisible. That will probably never change because the invisible majority are too busy trying to blend into society and lead somewhat average lives.

The point I tried to make in my discussion with my friend was this: We masculine Gay men have a duty to respect that small minority of feminine Gay men who are the ones on the front lines fighting for Equal Rights for all Gays. The next time you see a news story about a Gay Pride Parade with thousands of flambouyant young men girating on floats in G-string bikinis and dressed in Drag remember all those who came before us and started the modern Gay Rights Movement. Those few who defied the odds and threw off the shackles of oppression and discrimination while risking their jobs, safety and even their very lives in the process.

Long Live The Queens!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Faces Of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Photos of gay service members make statement about policy

By Chuck Conder, CNN
November 15, 2010 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
  • Photographer says idea for project came from the soldiers, sailors and Marines themselves
  • The photo exhibit "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" conveys the stories of gay U.S. military members
  • Exhibit comes as controversial policy is being challenged in the courts
(CNN) -- A soldier and his shadow sit alone on wrinkled sheets. With his knees pressed tightly up against his chest, he wraps his arms around his legs and bows his head.
In another photo, a soldier stands before a mirror. His raised hand covers just enough of his reflection to protect his anonymity.
But it's not photographer Jeff Sheng from whom these men are hiding their identities.
It's the military.
Sheng's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" exhibit, two years in the making, conveys the stories of the gay and bisexual men and women who serve in the U.S. military. And because his subjects are forced to keep their sexual orientations under wraps in order to serve, Shen's photos are portraits without faces.
The Los Angeles, California-based artist said many of his subjects were grateful for the opportunity to make a statement "without fully revealing themselves and losing their jobs."
"If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits -- their 20 years of service in the military would be gone," he said.
Sheng asked many of those he photographed why they continue to serve despite the inequality.
"I asked, 'Why do you still serve with this policy in place? Why would you do it?' " Sheng said. "And they all looked at me and said, 'Because it's serving the country. It's the most honorable thing that I can think of doing right now in my life.' "
Sheng is also the creator of "Fearless," photographs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered high school and college athletes who are public about their sexual identities. He is working on a project focusing on undocumented Americans.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" photos were exhibited last week in Washington at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters, and Sheng said he hopes to bring them next to Chicago, Illinois.
The exhibit couldn't have been unveiled at a more relevant time.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend enforcement temporarily of "don't ask, don't tell." Though a lower court has deemed the law unconstitutional, the controversial policy will remain in effect until the appeals process is complete.
President Obama is on record favoring abolition of the policy but has said he wants the issue to be decided by Congress, not in the courts.
The new commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, opposes repeal of the policy. "There is a risk involved," Amos told reporters in San Diego, California. "I'm tring to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."
Ryan Vincent Downing, a former Air Force captain and one of the 60 service members Sheng photographed, said he has confidence "that people in the military can handle change." He is no longer in the service and said hiding his sexuality took a toll.
"I found myself making up lies, and then making up more lies to cover the lies I had told before," Downing said.
Sheng said he hopes his photographs open eyes to the way the "don't ask, don't tell" policy affects closeted service members who are fighting and dying for their country.
"This idea that they're hiding, in many ways ... they can't reveal who they are," Sheng said. "[It] has a really profound effect on the way that people see these images and think about the issue."

William Shatner Defends Gay Friend Character

$#*! My Dad Says

William Shatner did more to help the Gay community in 30 minutes of network airtime than all of the empty words and promises Barrack Obama or any other politician will ever do. He took a stand against one of his oldest friends who was openly homophobic, hostile and threatening towards one of his new friends who happened to be Gay.

Of course he was in character as Ed Goodson in his new sitcom '$#*! My Dad Says' along with Wally, his bitter old friend and ex-navy buddy, and his new friend Tim whom Ed had befriended after Tim lost his job because he helped Ed pass his Driver's Exam and now works part time as Ed's housemaid.

I haven't watched a sitcom on a regular basis since the days of All In The Family, Mary Hartman Mary Hartman and Soap. When I read that William Shatner would be starring in a new sitcom titled $#*! My Dad Says (based on the website of a similar name 'Shit My Dad Says') my curiosity was piqued. I am so happy I decided to give it a try.

During a recent episode called "The Manly Thing To Do" Ed was entertaining a group of his old Navy buddies. Tim was invited to join the party because Ed never realized the stark reality of homophobia and the discrimination that his new friend faced everyday. At first Tim was accepted by Wally but as soon as his sexuality was revealed Wally changed and became openly hostile to Tim. Ed played it off by saying that is just how Wally is. Tim opened Ed's eyes to the true nature of Wally's behavior. Later on,  during the party when all of Ed's old buddies were there drinking and reminiscing Tim arrived with the all male, all gay chorus he was involved with. Ed introduced them to his friends and informed them they were invited to the party and would be providing some entertainment by singing. Wally became irrate and behaved very rudely to Tim and the chorus. Ed told Wally "Lighten up will you?" and Wally insisted the fairies would have to leave. Ed informed Wally that "We are old friends and I tell you this now, if you continue to treat my friends in this way I will ask you to leave my house". Wally waitied for some of Ed's other Navy buddies to speak up but alas no one did. He thought about it a moment but didn't leave. Ed said "Now, come on men! I'm not paying you to stand around and look pretty! Let's have some music." With that the chorus began singing "Anchors Away" and everyone joined in except Wally who just stood there confused at the turn of events. I have paraphrased the dialogue in the description above but that is pretty close to verbatim (I think, lol).

William Shatner is a well known and respected icon of pop culture. As such he is one of the best celebrity spokesman for any cause. His persona embodies masculinity. If you wanted to retain his service as ambassador on your behalf the price tag would undoubtedly be hefty. I was so proud to have Captain Kirk defend a Gay man, even if it was only on a TV sitcom, against bullying by one of his Navy buddies that I had to write about it and share it with you all.

If you are interested enough to watch "$#*! My Dad Says" (I highly recommend it) you can check it out on iMDB/TV at this link: then find out when and which network carries it in your area.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Donald Trump Endorses Homophobia

The Apprentice 2010

Donald Trump disappointed me in a big way. His attempt to 'Out' one of the contestants on his show "The Apprentice" created another negative image of Gay men in general and he should be ashamed of himself for doing so.

During the 'boardroom' meeting portion of the episode which aired November 4, 2010 Mr. Trump listened as

Anand Vasudev (a 31 year old unemployed entreprenuer and former real estate broker)

suggested David Johnson (a 34 year old unemployed accounts manager and father of 5)

had shown signs of a 'Man Crush' for a model their team had used for a photo shoot during the competition. He repeatedly suggested David himself was 'Gay' which solicited snickering and laughter from everyone on camera.

Mr. Trump pointedly turned to David and asked him if he was Gay and if he wanted to 'Come Out' then and there on the show. David, of course, denied the accusations and reminded everyone he was the father of 5 children to which Mr. Trump and others said 'that means nothing these days'. Donald Jr. even said 'That's so Gay' during the meeting.

I was appalled by this. This is the atmosphere that Gay men must compete in for jobs in America. The prejudice and hostility that was shown during this episode of The Apprentice was shocking. If Cyndi Lauper had been at the meeting I'm certain she would have challenged everyone for mocking Gay people and for snickering at the idea that David might be Gay. Cyndi Lauper was one of the celebrities involved in last seasons 'Celebrity Apprentice' and was claimed as a 'close' friend by Mr. Trump. I wonder if she saw this episode and how she reacted?

I really thought highly of Donald Trump prior to this public statement of his homophobic attitude. I have been a fan of his for decades. His appearnces on TV have always drawn my attention. I have never seen him ridicule and belittle someone about their sexuality before. I may have missed the signs of his prejudice before but I'm well aware of them now.

I would like to call for him to apologize for this behavior. I would like for him to state publicly his support for the Gay Community and for the end of DADT. I want him to help us achieve equality under the law and freedom from discrimintation.

If you agree with me please join me in posting a protest of this 'branding' of a suspected homosexual at:

I posted a protest at that address under the name JL2

Friday, November 5, 2010

Same-Sex Behavior Found in Nearly All Animals

Same-Sex Behavior Found in Nearly All Animals

By LiveScience Staff
posted: 16 June 2009 12:02 pm ET

Examples of same-sex behavior can be found in almost all species in the animal kingdom — from worms to frogs to birds — making the practice nearly universal among animals, according to a new review of research on the topic.
"It's clear that same-sex sexual behavior extends far beyond the well-known examples that dominate both the scientific and popular literature: for example, bonobos, dolphins, penguins and fruit flies," said Nathan Bailey, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Riverside.
Same-sex behaviors in different species are not all equivalent, the review finds. For instance, male fruit flies sometimes court other male flies, but this behavior is due to a missing gene that gives the flies the ability to distinguish between sexes, said Bailey, a co-author of the review. "That is very different from male bottlenose dolphins, who engage in same-sex interactions to facilitate group bonding, or female Laysan Albatross that can remain pair-bonded for life," he added.
The review also found a gap in the literature: While many studies have tried to understand why same-sex coupling exists and why it might make sense in terms of evolution, few have looked at what the evolutionary consequences of this behavior might be.

"Like any other behavior that doesn't lead directly to reproduction — such as aggression or altruism — same-sex behavior can have evolutionary consequences that are just now beginning to be considered," Bailey said. "For example, male-male copulations in locusts can be costly for the mounted male" and this cost may put evolutionary pressure on the locusts, he said. As a result, a larger number of males may secrete a particular chemical that discourages the mounting behavior, he added.
In their future research, Bailey and Marlene Zuk, a biology professor at UCR, plan to try and address questions about the evolutionary outcomes of same-sex couplings, focusing on the Laysan Albatrosses.
The review article was published in the June 16 issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and the study was funded by the UCR Academia Senate.