You’ve heard of gay penguins, but species throughout the world also count transgender members among them.
Meet Mmamoriri, the Lioness from the Okavango Delta in Botswana where is is at least one of 5 trans lionesses in the Delta who have elected to adopt the physical characteristics and mannerisms of the opposite gender.
At first, on observation, researchers thought Mmamoriri was a traditional male Lion. She has a beautiful full mane, a deeper, more masculine roar than her female counterparts and her behavior within the pride is undeniably a role exhibited traditionally by males, both dominance, leadership and protection.
Transgender Lions, both MtF and FtM have been witnessed in the wild across the Savannah
We often discuss homosexuality occurring in nature, but rarely do we take a look at the many species who embrace the transgender among them.
Marsh Harriers, a type of bird in most places around the world except North and South America, has been given some pretty offensive labels by journalists. “The Only Cross Dressing Bird Of Prey” was published by NewScientist; “Why some Birds of Prey Become Transvestites!” enthused LiveScience.com. In reality, the almost 40% of Marsh Harriers defy gender roles and decidedly live as the opposite gender. Some even find comfort displaying a more non-binary gender presentation where their behavior moves fluidly between being male and other times female. The biological males that are transgender go to great lengths to embody the female of their species. They mimic their movements, stay small in stature and in the more outstanding cases, even their plumage resembles that of the female Marsh Harrier than it does the male variation which boasts brighter, more brilliant colors of feathers.
Transgender — or animals with third gender traits have been seen from the desert highlands Hyenas to the towering jungle canopy's of Zanzibar where the precious Colobus Monkies play, to the dark depths of the sea with the Giant Australian Cuttlefish, animals have been breaking gender rules long before humans made them.
Researchers are baffled by these animals that are not just breaking human gender rules, but thumbing their nose at man-made gender roles. To the animals however, this is just a way of life, it is their identity, and they don’t care what onlookers think. The explanation provided by some biologists who study these animals is that it appears to be evolutionary. Certain members of the species adapt to their circumstances to avoid combat with dominant males or to resist being viewed as a threat. The trans-identifying Colobus Monkeys, just like all females in the group, are permitted to stay once reaching maturity as where the males are ejected from the tribe.
As with humans, the gender expression of these creatures in the wild is not indicative of their sexuality which only amplifies the fact that there is no relationship between assigned sex and preferred gender, even for animals.