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Episode 17.  "Queer Ducks(and Other Animals)"

The Natural World of Animal Sexuality

A Revealing Conversation with Author Eliot Schrefer


You can listen using the player below, or by entering "OURGENPOD" on your favorite podcasting platform.


Who knew? 

It turns out that same-sex behavior and relationships among animals is far more common than scientists led us to believe.  THEY may have known about it, but our society is apparently too hung up on "morality" and "shame" to allow it to become common knowledge.  


In this episode, author Eliot Schrefer reveals what farmers and scientists have known all along:  what's been called "unnatural" for centuries is actually a prevalent part of Nature.  

What might the science say about us?

The implications of Eliot's revelations -- collected from existing studies and observations -- are profound.  Among our own species, such knowledge could have saved countless young LGBTQ people from the agony of repression, ostracism, and brutal hate crimes.  It could even have saved lives.

On beyond sexuality, Eliot's research into the roots of social behavior among our closest genetic cousins -- chimpanzees and another lesser-known species of ape called bonobos -- reveals some traits that many of us also have.   Chimps are generally a male-dominated,  aggressive species, prone to fighting and even killing each other and other animals.   

By contrast, their close relatives the bonobos are a matriarchal society, where the Mothers Rule.  They are more peaceful, into cooperation and sharing.   Free from the judgment and shame we imposed on ourselves, bonobos tend to settle disputes through sex, of all varieties.  They are very much the "hippies of the animal world." 


Julian and Eliot raise some provocative questions about the possibility that the evolution of these differences between chimps and bonobos  might relate to the divisions and tribalism we find in our own society.

We might just have something to learn from them.

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Eliot Schrefer

Photo by Matt Wilson, The Daily Show

Buy "Queer Ducks (and Other Animals" in print or the audiobook on Amazon or Harper-Collins books.


"Endangered," his fictional story about a young girl and a band of bonobos caught in the middle of a war in the Congo, is also available on Amazon


Eliot Schrefer is a New York Times bestselling author, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. His other awards include a Stonewall Honor and the Green Earth Book Award. In addition to "Queer Ducks," he is also the author of "The Darkness Outside Us,"  "Endangered," and "Threatened."  He lives with his husband in New York City, is on the faculty of the Hamline University and Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in creative writing programs, and reviews books for USA Today. Visit him online at

Eliot recently appeared on "The Daily Show" with Trevor Noah, who calls "Queer Ducks" 


"One of the most fun books I have ever read!"

Watch Eliot's interview with Trevor Noah on YouTube.

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Visit Eliot's website for more information and links to his other books.

You can listen on any of the major podcast platforms -- just enter "OURGENPOD" to find us.  You can find links to those on our "Pick Your Platform" page.  or just use our player on the website.

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