It seems pretty fun for gay animals. There are no laws drafted to strip them of rights; no one judges them; they can run around naked. Sure, (most) gay animals can't march in Pride parades or throw over-the-top weddings, but they still have it pretty sweet. If you don't believe us, check out this list of animals who are known to pair off with same-sex companions, raise families, and retire to a nice zoo together.
Male penguins occasionally form a pair and raise a chick together, both in the wild and in zoos. You may remember the two gay penguins in Britain who were famously dubbed the “best penguin parents” in the Kent Zoo. The two male penguins, Kermit and Jumbs, teamed up to raise a chick after its birth parents abandoned it. According to zoo staff, Kermit and Jumbs did a stellar job.
Bonobos, the famously frisky relatives of humans, engage in frequent sexual activity with members of both the opposite sex and the same sex, according to the BBC. This goes for both males and females. Researchers believe that bonobos use sex as a way to bond with each other. Sound familiar?
Male giraffes have been observed engaging in same-sex sexual activity, often “necking” with each other for purposes of sexual arousal while ignoring females, according to Yale Scientific.
Scientists estimate that up to 20 percent of black swan pairings in a given year are homosexual males, according to Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. Some male pairs will stick together for life, while others will form short-term “bisexual trios” that include females, allowing the males to father their own young.
A 2012 study of more than 120 bottlenose dolphins found that the males engage in both bisexual and homosexual behavior. Unlike the peace-loving bonobos, these dolphins appear to have social lives “full of drama.” “I’m glad I’m not a dolphin,” commented researcher Richard Connor.
Male elephants have been observed mounting each other as well as “kissing” by inserting their trunk into another male’s mouth. While the majority of same-sex elephant relationships are short, there have been cases of these pairings lasting years. A gay elephant named Ninio caused a stir at a Polish zoo a few years back.
Some rams exhibit a strong sexual interest in other males, according to the New Scientist, and even refuse to mate with females. Interestingly, scientists have found differences between the brains of gay rams and straight rams — a gay male’s hypothalamus is almost twice the size of a straight male’s and nearly identical in size to the hypothalamus of a straight female sheep.
Like penguins, male flamingos will sometimes pair up to raise a chick together. A same-sex flamingo pair at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in England took to stealing eggs out of other nests because they so wanted to raise their own young. So when a chick was abandoned by its biological parents, staff decided to turn it over to Fernando and Carlos, the gay flamingo pair. Sure enough, Fernando and Carlos went on to raise it as their own. Aw!