In the 1970s, as LGBTQ+ people in the United States faced conservatives whose top argument was that homosexuality is “unnatural,” a pair of young scientists discovered on a tiny island off the coast of California a colony of seagulls that included… a significant number of lesbian couples making nests and raising chicks together. The article that followed upended the culture’s understanding of what’s natural and took the discourse on homosexuality in a whole new direction.This podcast explains how this story was celebrated by queers all over the world, and published in the top AAAS Science journal, as proof that homosexuality was natural. Laws calling sodomy an unnatural act were proven wrong, by science.
In this episode, our co-Host Lulu Miller grapples with the impact of this and several other studies about animal queerness on her life as a queer person.
It is very difficult to even tell the difference between the male and female seagulls. The male does not have a penis, or any outward physical difference. Maybe a human lesbian would prefer to avoid a penis, but the concept does not even apply to seagulls.
But then, towards the end of the episode, it reveals that the whole thing was a hoax. Scientists went back to the island, and there were no lesbian seagulls. The seagulls all mated in the opposite sex manner.
It is not clear whether the earlier Science journal paper had faked data, or merely misinterpreted a naturally-occurring sex imbalance. Possibly there was an excess of females. There were still having sexual relations with males, and laying eggs, but not finding enough males for pair bonding.
The poscast does not mention it, but there have been similar hoaxes involving penguins and other animals.
I do not think that we should be looking to animals for guidance on human behavior, so the whole story is misguided. I post this to explain that these stories are just pro-queer hoaxes.