Strange writer puts personal stamp on science book like a scientist can’t / LGBTQ Nation

Like many of the behaviors described by Eliot Schrefer Weird ducks (and other animals): the natural world of animal sexuality, his book is difficult to classify. Is it a science textbook? Memories of strange children? A college thesis illustrated with Far Side comics?

It is certainly not a traditional science book. “Traditions,” Schrefer wrote, “are just pressure from the dead. We get our own news.”

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So what is it?

Illustrations by Jules Zuckerberg / @juleszuckerberg

First of all, don’t judge the book by its cover, as the Skittles in rainbow colors tease you that the subject is LGBTQ. That’s right, but inside it’s as monochrome as a newspaper around 1979.

Jules Zuckerberg’s comics are reminiscent of the animals that Gary Larson is chatting about and deal with chapters about different species. Interviews with young scientists at work describe how and why science is collected, and by whom. And overall, Schrefer adds a personal context to his various topics.

“When I was about eleven, I started working on my brother’s Rolling Stone Fruit of the Loom commercials and realized that I was attracted to other boys.”

This doesn’t sound like the reflections of a traditional scientist, and Schrefer doesn’t. A graduate of Harvard Literature, she is primarily a writer, primarily for Young People’s Fiction, which helps her explain her fluency in a book aimed at teenagers. But it is also queer and part of the New York University Master of Animal Studies program, where he learned this academic truth: “Science is done by scientists, and their way of thinking about the natural world is reflected in their explanations.”

That is, who is doing science, and on the subject of animal sexuality, science has, until recently, been cut short. Strange ducksit seems to be a study of these strange ducks as much as the history of human sexuality, homophobia, and confirmation bias.

Illustrations by Jules Zuckerberg / @juleszuckerberg

Schrefer writes: “The ‘scientific truth’ about animal sexuality is based on whether or not the writer continues to regard animals as sacred as heterosexual, in what we might call a version of Noah’s Ark life, or as undeniable evidence of sexual behavior by people of the same sex.”

And there is a lot of evidence.

“In 1999, researcher Bruce Bagemihl released his detailed, rigorously researched Biological exuberance: animal homosexuality and natural diversity, and in subsequent years, across species of species, vertebrates, and invertebrates, studies have shown same-sex pairings in hundreds of animal species. And not just occasional relationships, sometimes lifelong partnerships between same-sex animals. ”

Schrefer puts zeros in several species, “Ducks and geese: what’s the animal’s attitude toward polyamory?” “Bonobos: Do we learn homosexuality or heterosexuality, or do we learn bisexuality?” “Albatross: Does Sexuality Require Sex?” “Deer: Are There Trans Animals?” And “Bulls: What could be more masculine than sex between a couple of men?” (Apparently, nothing beats a bull more than watching another bull.)

There is a theory behind most of these behaviors. “Polyamory — linking three or more animals instead of the usual two — can increase the effective set of parents, increasing the survival of offspring. There is also a theory known as the “bisexual advantage”, from data that show that fluid sexuality increases the chances of reproduction in a population, making bisexuality “an optimal evolution.”

Illustrations by Jules Zuckerberg / @juleszuckerberg

For some sexual behaviors of some animals, such as humans, there is no scientific explanation. At the end of the twentieth century, the French entomologist Henri Gadeau de Kerville “distinguished between doodlebugs that promote the lack of women and same-sex doodlebugs.” . . he likes it (‘pédérastie par gout’). ”

Just like some humans. Or not.

“There was a unique boom in New England women’s and women’s homes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, enough to describe the term‘ Boston marriage ’as women living and living together, whether sexual union or not,” Schrefer said. LGBTQ Nation.

Like your “old neme” aunts, almost a third of albatross pairs are females. Are they “doing the best to a bad job”?

“There’s a big push in the scientific literature to explain the female couple in particular,” Schrefer said, reducing it to “having fun with women,” rather than being a chosen union.

Schefer points out that many societies have made same-sex relationships a reality in life.

“A significant historical study of all known human societies throughout history found that 64 percent punished or tolerated same-sex sexual behavior. In particular, large numbers of homosexual relationships are found in seventeenth-century feudal Japan, Mayan civilization, fifteenth-century Florence, and North and North America. In the Indigenous Peoples of South America. “

And in Greece: “As we get older, men will generally go from passive to passive eromenos to be active deleting. As Diogenes Laerzio wrote of the desirable Alcibiades, an Athenian general said, “in his adolescence he separated them from their husbands and wives, and in their youth they separated their wives from their husbands.”

Like dolphins, Greek society was based on social ties that were established through male-male sex.

“Sex,” Schrefer writes, “is a social glue.”

So who writes science now? Schrefer interviews several young people and mostly LGBTQ wildlife scientists, including PhD researcher Sidney Woodruff.

“I think sometimes as a queer researcher,” says Woodruff, “we hope to rule out heterosexual hypotheses in our lives, but we can also perpetuate those hypotheses in our research. “Because of my gender and sexual identity, we have a lot of strength, but in our efforts to find inaccuracies in previous research, we need to make sure that we are humble enough to know that we will not always get the answer we want.”

Science seems to be in good hands.

Sidney Woodruff, PhD student

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