Doe. A deer. A dykey deer.

Red deer. Cervus elaphus. Because yes, does can be lesbian, bi and they can be tops too.


[image shows: a red deer doe looking over her shoulder. She stands in an area of grass and bracken.]

Red deer are common across North Africa, Europe and Southwest Asia. They have a breeding season, aka ‘ruts’, for about a month each year and during the rest of their time, mature adults live mostly in single sex groups. It’s then, when they’re not focused on breeding, that the does have a whole lot of gay sex.

It’s pretty much the norm and about 70% of all does fuck with each other outside the rut. Around a third play exclusively with other does and the rest are bi. They are divided more or less equally into tops (‘mounters’), bottoms (‘mountees’) and versatiles. Occasionally when stags and does come together, it’s the doe who tops the stag.

Both does and stags form pair bonds with members of their own sex and does in particular will travel great distances to be with their partner, calling to her until they’re together again.

They also have some other fun gender stuff going on. Most does don’t have antlers but some do. Most stags do but some don’t. And the stags without antlers have been shown to be stronger and fitter. Scientists, unsurprisingly, have either ignored these individuals or erased them as ‘statistical anomalies’ (sound familiar?). Actually, of course, it’s gender fluidity, gender non-conformity, maybe even another couple of genders. What it certainly isn’t, is an anomaly.

Speaking of antlers…for red deer they are an erogenous zone and stags have been observed jerking off by rubbing their antlers against vegetation, sometimes getting hard and ejaculating in the process. Now you know.

For more Queer Ecology, check out Otter’s first novel Margins and Murmurations or join the mailing list to get her zine for free!

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