Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People

Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People

Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People

Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People

Synopsis

A celebration of the enormous diversity of genders and sexuality found in animals and among human cultures. Roughgarden explores how and why this range of bodies and behaviors evolved and exposes how biology, medicine, anthropology and Christianity have obstructed the recognition and acceptance of this diversity.

Excerpt

On a hot, sunny day in June of 1997, I attended my first gay pride parade, in San Francisco. The size of the crowd amazed me. As I marched from Civic Center up Market Street to San Francisco Bay, a throng of onlookers six persons deep on both sides shouted encouragement and support. For the first time, I felt the sheer magnitude of the gay community.

I stored this impression in the back of my mind. How, I wondered, does biology account for such a huge population that doesn't match the template science teaches as normal? When scientific theory says something's wrong with so many people, perhaps the theory is wrong, not the people.

It wasn't just the number of gay people that astonished me, but the diversity of personal expression in the parade. A drag queen or two were featured in the newspapers, but many other, less flamboyant presentations with different mixtures of gendered symbols were evident as well. I was intrigued, and resolved to investigate further if I ever got the chance. During the next few months I intended to transition into a transgendered woman. I didn't know what the future held—whether I'd be fired as a biology professor, whether I'd become a nightclub waitress, whether I'd even stay alive. I couldn't make long-term plans.

Still, I found my mind leaping from one question to another: What's . . .

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