Saturday, February 18, 2006

What Other Dogs Hump

In response to a letter to the editor in the Index, the campus weekly newspaper:

I have a dog named Rudy, and he is a boy dog. He goes out and finds a pillow, stuffed animal, or a person's legs, and he falls in love. Then he humps it. Does this make my dog leg-sexual? No, it makes him a dog that likes to hump things.

The argument that homosexuality is “abnormal” or “unnatural” is poorly reasoned. First, “normality” is a construct of society, based on what the majority finds acceptable. There is no set standard for normal, and if there were, no one would fit the mold, because everyone is different in some way.

Furthermore, what is considered normal changes? What is considered abnormal one year might not cause such a fuss the next year. One hundred years ago a woman who was thirty years old, single, and held a job would definitely been considered abnormal (or more likely a prostitute). Today, that same woman could walk down the street without anyone even noticing or caring. In fact, people today balk at how ridiculously and ludicrously oppressed women of that time were. How do think people one hundred years from now will think about the current social oppression of homosexuals?

Second, as far a homosexuality being “unnatural,” there is overwhelming documentation of homosexuality in all types and species of animals, from beloved canines like Buffy and Rudy to gorillas in the wild. One of the most famous cases in the U.S. is that of the two homosexual male penguins, Roy and Silo, in New York's Central Park Zoo. The couple was together for eight years – seven years longer than any of their heterosexual zoomates – and built nests, ate, socialized, and lived relatively normal penguin lives.

In his book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, Bruce Bagemihl examines scientific documentation from the past century that includes the homosexual, bisexual, and transgender behavior of many different species of animal (mostly birds and mammals, considered the most highly evolved). So, are these animals unnatural when they have sex with others f the same sex? Does this make them “gay” geese and “lesbian” orangutans?

The thing that seems most unnatural to me about homosexuality is how it is treated in our society. For hundreds of years homosexuality had been accepted by some cultures, revered by others, or at least ignored by most. But now many in our current culture are trying to eliminate homosexuality for seemingly no reason at all, using the pathetically weak arguments that “it's unnatural” or “God doesn't like it.” When was the last time you heard a penguin refused the right to mate with whomever it chose or a gorilla killed simply because enjoyed having sexual relations with other female gorillas?

Your dog Buffy probably doesn't particularly care who or what other dogs hump. Why should you care who any other human being humps?

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9 comments:

  1. oh to imagine a world so simple and free

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  2. It always startles me how confined students are at this o so "liberal" school. I hope that you sent your argument in to the Index.

    -mags

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  3. Back me up on this Z, but don't dogs hump to be dominant? Not for pleasure? My two dogs don't even have testicles and they still hump-- eachother or even have made attempts on the cats.

    Good post... hear hear.

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  4. His name is Rooty...King Rootin Tootin Uncommon to be exact.

    In the canine world, males hump males, females hump females in ritual play,neutered or spayed they engage in this ritual. Yes, there are arguements that this is a display of dominence. But, in my observation of my dogs in group play, one male may be the humper one day and the next day the humpee and the same with the females. However, no one ever humps the alpha male without serious consequence.

    Now here's my arguement. In the canine world just because there is same gender humping does not conclude that the animal has a definite preference for the same sex. When a female is in standing heat appears on the scene, the male who is humping his same gendered friend will leave for the female in heat. In my ten years of breeding dogs, I have never seen a male penetrate or ejaculate while humping the same gender canine buddy. It seems to me that this might be some fertile ground for research.

    It seems to me that most gays are not galloping around willy-nilly humping anybody or thing,although some certainly might the same as some heterosexuals might. In the human arena, it seems to me that homosexuals are making a cognitive and emotional choice when choosing a same sex relationship...they are exercising a sexual preference.

    But what do I know? I'm just a middling.

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  5. Technically, using another species' sexual habits really isn't a very realistic or accurate comparison to human sexual practices. Humans are much more complex beings, with emotions and minds. Therefore, to leave out all of the dynamics that might have an effect on our sexual practices and urges in this argument is like taking a picture with a camera as opposed to being in person; you only get a flat view from one perspective. If you are going to compare animals to humans merely for the purposes of biological studies, then McBastard's example of fellow primates is a much better one.

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  6. hat last post was by me, I was too busy trying to sound smart to leave my name.

    -mags

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  7. While I agree with -mags comments somewhat that it is a little unfair to compare species sexuality, I think it is a bit self-aggrandizing to say that humans are so "much more complex" than other animals that even our sexuality, a primal trait in all species, is superior. To compare speech habits or tool use in humans (something we specialize in) and some other species is unfair, but to say that the reasons for our sexual habits is profoundly and fundamentally different just because we are human seems like an exaggeration.

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  8. "If you are going to compare animals to humans merely for the purposes of biological studies, then McBastard's example of fellow primates is a much better one."

    I’m sorry, but I don’t know what this closing statement means, and I'm not sure who you are negating or agreeing with. The post seems to go around in a circle. Maybe one more paragraph is needed to flesh out your point.

    This is a thought provoking topic and very worthy of discussion. Discussions such as these help define who we are and where we are as individuals.

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  9. Let me preface this statement by saying that I have a great amount of affection and respect for Tuna Hell, so this is by no means intended as an attack or anything of the sort. That being said...

    "It seems to me that homosexuals are making a cognitive and emotional choice when choosing a same sex relationship...they are exercising a sexual preference."
    When was the last time someone asked you when you turned straight, or questioned why you chose to sexually love men as opposed to women? Do you consider your heterosexuality a "lifestyle" or a "preference"? Did you wake up one morning and decide, "you know what? I think I'll have some penis today"? The idea that we have control over the way in which we experience love is madness. I never chose to love men. I never weighed my options, considered the pros and cons, and decided that it was just my preference, my choice, to be with men. Or that if it didn't work out with dudes, I could just change my mind and start hitting up dyke bars. It's a part of who I am, a part of my makeup. I am fortunate enough to be a part of the sexual majority so that I don't have to answer for who I am or how God created me, but that doesn't mean that my sexuality is any more "right," "natural," or legitimate than that of any homosexual.

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