from Clinical/Therapeutic Issues
Joan Roughgarten, a transsexual male biology professor
says Darwin was wrong about sexual selection.
June 19, 2006 - "The Gay Animal Kingdom," in Seed magazine (June/July 2006) surveys the writings of transsexual Stanford Professor Joan Roughgarten whose book, Evolution's Rainbow challenges Charles Darwin's theories about sexual selection and homosexuality.
Author Jonah Lehrer writes of Roughgarten's theories: "According to Roughgarten, sexual selection can't explain the homosexuality that's been documented in over 450 different vertebrate species. This means that same-sex sexuality—long disparaged as a quirk of human culture—is a normal, and probably necessary, fact of life."
According to Roughgarten, sex isn't only for mating, but primates have sex for fun or for social bonding. He began having doubts about Darwin after attending a gay pride parade in 1997 where he walked alongside a float in support of transgendered people. He noted:
I was just stunned by the sheer magnitude of the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] population. Because I'm a biologist, I started asking myself some difficult questions.
My discipline teaches that homosexuality is some sort of anomaly. But if the purpose of sexual contact is just reproduction, as Darwin believed, then why do all these gay people exist? A lot of biologists assume that they are somehow defective, that some developmental error or environmental influence has misdirected their sexual orientation. If so, gay and lesbian people are a mistake that should have been corrected a long time ago. But this hasn't happened. That's when I had my epiphany. When scientific theory says something's wrong with so many people, perhaps the theory is wrong, not the people.
Roughgarten believes that homosexuality is a defining feature of advanced animal communities, which require communal bonds in order to function. "The more complex and sophisticated a social system is, the more likely it is to have homosexuality intermixed with heterosexuality," says Roughgarten.
Roughgarten theorizes that homosexual behavior in the animal kingdom is a way of creating communal cooperation and avoiding social conflict. He proposes a "cooperative game theory" to explain the importance of homosexuality in maintaining social cohesion in an animal community.