January 4th, 2007

Hanifah Tough

New exhibit in Oslo about gay animals in Nature

Birds do it, bees do it . . .

Martin Fletcher


It is not what you would expect to see when you take your children on a Sunday outing to the natural history museum: a giant photograph of one male giraffe humping another, or two whales sparring with giant penises. This, however, is Norway, where — for better or worse — the normal rules do not apply. Three years ago the Government told the country’s museums and libraries that they should do more to contribute to social debates and dare to tackle taboo subjects.

The results of that order are now coming through. One museum is staging an exhibition that debunks the national myth that every Norwegian was an heroic Resistance fighter in the Second World War. A second is planning an exhibition on Vidkun Quisling, the ultimate Norwegian collaborator. A third has an exhibition showing how badly Norway has treated Gypsies.

But the Natural History Museum in Oslo has gone one better. As America’s religious right fulminates against homosexuality, Europe embraces gay marriage, and leading homosexuals such as Martina Navratilova denounce scientists in Oregon for attempting to make gay sheep straight, the Naturhistorisk Museum is stepping squarely into the heart of a controversy that dates back to at least AD1120 when the Church Council of Nablus described homosexuality as a “sin against nature” .
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I guess this finally answers the question: How do porcupines have sex? In a bathhouse.