'Leopard Slug'

'Leopard Slug' emulates the performance of the leopard slugs queer mating ritual. It evidences queerness within nature as a means to combat conservative homophobic dogma. 

For centuries, Western (often christian) dogma professed homosexuality as a moral sin. Seemingly certified by the apparent absence of queerness in nature, the argument was difficult to contest. Something not of God’s will, but created by man. 

In reality, the animal world is an exceptionally queer kingdom. 

The blanket dogmatic answer of ‘Divine micromanagement’ began to loose strength in the 17th century with Isaac Newton and Newtonian Revolution. When Newton was able to demonstrate that the ‘physical properties and motions of the universe’ could be explained by natural laws and forces, religious dogma was forced to make concessions in its shackles over science. This movement coordinated the playing field for the rise of biology in the 18th century and eventually the arrival of Darwinism- which for some is understood as the ‘final nail in the coffin’. 

The rise of support and evidenced logic in scientific disciplines aided the subsidisation of Christianity's powerful hegemonic dogma and allowed alternative truths to become the growing mores of christian societies. From this moment onwards, problematic and prejudiced christian teachings were unable to withstand the threat of more liberal and progressive values, many of which have been essential for the growing liberation of the queer community.

The 20th century saw a rise in scientists investigating homosexual behaviour in the animal world. Now free from fears of being dismissed, discredited, prosecuted or just generally ridiculed, science could now face the task of evidencing the now evident.


After circling and licking each other for many hours, courting leopard slugs will together climb into a tree before establishing a worthy bough. From here they will lower themselves on a thick slimy string of mucus produced in harmony as they descend. 

They pirouette clockwise like acrobatic aerial contortionists, so that they eventually align their genital openings located on the right of their head. Mating in free air, sexual organs sprout from their cranial gonopores. Once out-turned and erect, they entwine their penis’, billowing them like a flare on their spinning slither of slime. They then begin exchanging spermatophores, ‘compact capsules of sperm’. 

Although most of the slug-kingdom amicably separate after coitus, the leopard slug is different. Following such strenuous activity, one slug must race to reclimb and consume the rope of mucus in order to reclaim its strength. This, in turn, results in the weaker slug falling to the ground, where it will likely be eaten. 

Part of the beauty of the performance of the shagging slugs seems to come from its certainty to unapologetically disgust a select demographic. Unashamedly queer. 

The discovery of ‘Gay Gulls’ in California in 1972 by scientists George and Molly Hunt triggered a great scandal amongst the conservative christians in US politics. The research found that 14% of female seagulls off the Californian coast are homosexual. It is believed to be “the first published work on homosexuality in any wild animal,” (G. Hunt). The evidence conflicted with conservative dogma that homosexuality wasn’t found in nature - God’s creation - and therefore must be unnatural. A great ornithological-ontological scandal.

“When people have their fundamental arguments compromised, they aren’t happy about it,” (G. Hunt).

The complete NSF (National Science Foundation) funding was cut for 10 days in response. The team continued their research regardless. Ironically, the most likely conclusion for the unprecedented female-female pairing was a lack of males on the island, who were experiencing high mortality due to DDT, an insecticide later banned in the US.

By the late 1970’s, the scandal became a mere cultural touchstone as more and more research was published evidencing queerness within the animal kingdom. Today, homosexual behaviour has been observed in more than 1500 species.

Long live slutty slugs, top shaggers of the hermaphrodite kingdom, and gay gulls, the battiest of the birds. Blessed be nature’s queer.

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