The world-girdling Associated Press reports that Dr. Donald Farner, professor of zoophysiology at the University of Washington, and his scientific colleagues have discovered a covey of lesbian sea gulls on Santa Barbara Island off the coast of California. Upon receipt of the news, Anita Bryant went into a state of shock and pet owners everywhere began to take a second and much longer squint at Phydoux, the family golden retriever.
In Washington, D.C., a largish Old English sheepdog named Nellie Plum came out of the closet. A good thing, too, given the dog's size and that of the closet.
Nellie is over 3 years of age and has never evinced any interest inboys qua boys. She does play with the males of her species but not in a healthy, heterosexual way. She's always given the impression that she thinks the left ear is an erogenous zone, giving rise to the suspicion that she's lovable but rather slow in the head. In fact, she's an intelligent, alert, sensitive and caring lesbian bitch.
How can you tell if your family pet is homosexual? There are a lot of myths around this subject that you'd best not believe. If your dog lisps when he or she barks, you should not jump to conclusions any more than if your rum-tum tiger should swish his tail when walking across the back of the sofa to get to you and a good ear scratch. You can't tell by looking. For instance, no one in the world could guess those two huge lions in front of the public library are gay lovers who were recently married by an illegally ordained female Roman Catholic priest. Some of the most ferocious Doberman pinschers are gay and some of the most mincing, lamb-chop-cut French poodles are male, heterosexual satyrs.
Don't let the news that there are gays in the animal world disturb your relationship with your pet. Shortly after the news from Santa Barbara was broadcast to the world, an all-male company of firepersons in Great Neck, L.I., expelled their beloved male dalmatian from the firehouse. That's the sort of over-reaction that counselors and therapists are warning against.
Don't get rigid if a family pet of your gender comes over and begs for affection. It may be quite harmless. Psychologists who've studied the wide and wonderful range of human-animal interactions report that bestiality is seldom practiced by a person and an animal of the same gender. There are no authenticated stories of shepherds having homosexual relations with the members of their flocks. Nor are there any cases of animals raping humans, so there is no reason to go to pieces if you stumbled on the fact that good old faithful Bowser is ACDC.
How should one react if Polly the Parrot starts screaming, "Can you deal with it? Can you deal with it? I'm gay and I'm proud of it!" Under those circumstances Polly's owner should stifle giggly, cute responses like saying, "I always knew you were a queer bird." None of that. You ought to react the way you would if one of your kids were to come home and tell you he/she is marrying someone of the same sex. Blink back the tears and say, "Your father and I are so happy you're getting married. We don't approve of extramarital sex."
Do not pluck the bird's tail feathers or, in the casse of a canine, think you can accomplish anything with a rolled up newspaper. Accept it and realize that you can have just as deep, just as meaningful and just aa sharing a relationship with a gay goldfish as with a straight one.
Some parents, when they hear that one of their kids is gay, blame themselves. If the kid were an an albino they wouldn't blame themselves, but let Daddy's little sweetheart tell him she's a dyke, and he cries to heaven, "Oh Lord, what have I done?"
If he's always called her Hank and bemoaned the fact that she would never grow up to play middle linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, maybe he does have something to answer for. In like manner, if you don't want your sweet little kitten to turn into a lesbian, don't give the poor thing a boy's name. I know a darling little girl cat named Beethoven. No good will come of it.
Should you tell your friends about your pet's sexual orientation? There's no need of that. Animals have a right to their privacy, but a law should be passed to prevent pet stores from discriminating against gay bunny rabbits and lesbian cockatoos.
As for Anita Bryant, she'll have to reconcile herself to the fact that even nature is unnatural.