Like humans, some animals are heterosexual, some are homosexual, and some are somewhere in between. Yep, humans aren’t the only ones—albatrosses, giraffes, penguins, lions, and members of many other species have been observed engaging in same-sex activity, too.
Sexuality is a spectrum and a natural part of the animal kingdom. Just like us, every animal is an individual with a wide range of emotions and the ability and desire to form relationships. They’re here, and they’re queer—live and let live.
Same-sex coupling is becoming more common among the Antipodean wandering albatross population as birds struggle to find opposite-sex partners. Due to industrial fishing near the female’s northern feeding grounds, many female albatross are caught and drowned as bycatch, causing males to outnumber them three to one. These large birds crave companionship, and many stay together for up to 50 years in opposite-sex or same-sex relationships.
When one freshly mature male attempted to woo a female in an episode of Frozen Planet II, it seemed like things were off to a good start: They strutted, cooed, and even wing-flapped at one another. However, the young albatross was soon flock-blocked by other suitors. After accepting that the female just wasn’t that into him, he was approached by one of the new arrivals, who was another male. The two hit it off instantly and courted. They nibbled on one another’s necks, nested, and otherwise doted on one another.
Let’s get one thing straight: Japanese macaques aren’t always. These primates often display bisexual behavior, exploring sexual activity with both the opposite and the same sex. Female Japanese macaques sometimes pursue same-sex sexual partners even if a male macaque shows interest in them—they just prefer to get together with another female. It’s biology, baby.
Penguins are famously monogamous, known to link up with one partner for life. Among these long-lasting, loving relationships are countless same-sex couples sticking together through thick and thin. In 1911, George Murray Levick observed homosexual activity in a wild penguin colony at Cape Adare in Antarctica. Since then, thousands more same-sex penguin couples have been observed.
Reports show that bottlenose dolphins engage in nonreproductive sexual activity without regard for biological sex, and one pod of Amazon river dolphins was even spotted engaging in homosexual group sex. They don’t need to apologize for who they are—and neither should any other animal, humans included! You do you, dolphins.
Both African and Asian elephants engage in homosexual intercourse and relationships. Reports show that female and male elephants alike are affectionate with their same-sex partners beyond sexual activity—doing things such as grooming, kissing, and intertwining their trunks—and that these relationships often last years.
Studies show that gay sex among giraffes makes up over 90% of all observed sexual activity in these animals, meaning giraffes engage in much more same-sex lovin’ than they do opposite-sex lovin’.
Male giraffes are especially interested in each other. They rub their necks along each other’s bodies and spend many hours courting and caressing their potential partner. Simply put, giraffes are big on homosexuality (and foreplay).
For decades, scientists observed male lions nuzzling, caressing, and mounting each other, engaging in same-sex sexual relations.
Although less likely to do so than their male counterparts, female lions, too, have been known to love up on one another. We think it’s purrfect that these animals mate with whomever they please.
Show Animals Love
At PETA, we believe in compassion and empathy for all, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or species. Humans are only one species of animal among many. All animals—regardless of species—deserve to have the opportunity to live as they choose. Please join us in the fight for a more just society by pledging to reject prejudice and anything else that causes harm to those with whom we share this planet. Pledge to help end speciesism: