Sorry George: Zoos Urged to Recognize Same Gender Behavior as Natural

Sorry George: Zoos Urged to Recognize Same Gender Behavior as Natural

Lonesome George, the Galapagos giant tortoise, captivated the world with his solitary existence as the last of his kind. His passing marked the end of an era and spurred discussions not only about conservation but also about the intricacies of animal behavior. Speculation surrounding George’s orientation has prompted Diálogo Diverso, an advocacy collective for the LGBTIQ+ community in Ecuador, to launch a global initiative urging zoos worldwide to recognize and embrace same gender behavior as a natural aspect of animal life.

Understanding Same Gender Behavior in Animals:

Same gender behavior in animals has been documented across various species, ranging from mammals to birds and even insects. This behavior encompasses a range of activities, including courtship, mating, and forming long-term partnerships. Despite its prevalence in nature, same gender behavior in animals has often been overlooked or dismissed due to societal taboos and scientific biases.

The Case of Lonesome George:

Lonesome George’s story is particularly poignant in the context of same gender behavior in animals. As the last known individual of his species, George lived out his days in captivity without producing offspring. This absence of reproduction led researchers to speculate about George’s orientation, with some suggesting that he may have exhibited same gender behavior. However, due to prevailing scientific biases, this aspect of George’s life was often overlooked or disregarded.

Challenging Scientific Biases:

The reluctance to acknowledge same gender behavior in animals reflects broader biases within the scientific community. Heteronormativity, the assumption that opposite-gender attraction is the norm, has historically shaped our understanding of animal behavior. As a result, behaviors that deviate from this norm are often marginalized or explained away as anomalies. Diálogo Diverso’s initiative seeks to challenge these biases and promote a more inclusive understanding of animal behavior.

The Role of Zoos:

Zoos play a crucial role in shaping public perceptions of wildlife and conservation. As institutions dedicated to the care and welfare of animals, zoos have the opportunity to lead by example in recognizing and respecting diverse behaviors in their captive populations. By acknowledging same gender behavior as natural, zoos can promote inclusivity and diversity within their facilities and educate the public about the complexities of animal behavior.

Promoting Conservation and Diversity:

Recognizing same gender behavior in animals is not only a matter of scientific accuracy but also has implications for conservation. Embracing diversity within the animal kingdom allows us to better understand and protect vulnerable species. By advocating for the recognition of same gender behavior in animals, Diálogo Diverso aims to foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world and promote more inclusive conservation practices.

Addressing Misconceptions:

One common misconception surrounding same gender behavior in animals is that it is a result of captivity or environmental factors. However, research has shown that same gender behavior occurs naturally in wild populations and is not limited to captive environments. By dispelling these misconceptions, Diálogo Diverso hopes to challenge stereotypes and promote a more nuanced understanding of animal behavior.

Raising Awareness:

Through their global initiative, Diálogo Diverso seeks to raise awareness about the importance of recognizing and respecting same gender behavior in animals. By engaging with zoos, researchers, and the public, they hope to spark conversations about diversity and inclusion within the animal kingdom. By amplifying voices and sharing stories, Diálogo Diverso aims to create a more inclusive and accepting world for all beings.


The story of Lonesome George serves as a powerful reminder of the complexities of animal behavior and the need to challenge scientific biases. By urging zoos to recognize and embrace same gender behavior as natural, Diálogo Diverso is advocating for a more inclusive understanding of the natural world. Through education, awareness, and advocacy, they hope to create a world where all beings are valued and respected, regardless of their orientation.

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