This is not a political post, rather it is an anti-political post regarding zoology and how it relates to human beings. In this morning’s New York Times Magazine, Can Animals Be Gay? focuses on one of the largest same-sex Laysan albatross colonies and how it does not relate to human behavior.
First and foremost, when a study regarding animals is released, we should really try and stop relating animal actions to humans and, conversely, human traits on animals. Whether it be Laura Bush incorrectly commending the Laysan albatross for its life-long commitment or gay rights groups celebrating same-sex penguin couples. Both are silly and totally misconstrued. On the other hand, one of the great fallacies that biologists have been guilty of for hundreds of years is the assumption that animals in pairs are strictly male and female.
The study of same-sex behavior among animals has recently taken off from a history of science that, to put it lightly, wasn’t to thrilled about same-sex behavior in animals.
In 1999, [Bruce] Baghemihl published “Biological Exuberance,” a book that pulled together a colossal amount of previous piecemeal research and showed how biologists’ biases had marginalized animal homosexuality for the last 150 years — sometimes innocently enough, sometimes in an eruption of anthropomorphic disgust.
There is much to learn about animal behavior, more studies to start and complete, and Jon Mooallem’s article covers everything from evolutionary biology to the human politics of same-sex relationships.