Friday, October 22, 2010

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Laysan Albatross are known to have female-female pairs on the regular. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Gay.  There's a lot of news on the homofront these days.  As a response to a number of recent suicides of young gay kids, Dan Savage has his "It Gets Better" Campaign. FCKH8 is popping up all over the internets. In light of a major Supreme Court Decision, military recruiters have now been told to begin accepting any openly gay recruits.  Those of us who are into it are supposed to be wearing purple back on Wednesday as well, in support of LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trans) teens.

For those of you who have not been lucky enough to have a conversation over a glass of whiskey with any of the BB&B team members, particularly The Great Ornithologist Felonious Jive, you may not know that some of us here are pretty opinionated about a lot of things.  To set things straight (no pun intended), I want to make it clear that BB&B is 100% supportive of all the homos out there.  I have tons of gay/sorta gay friends (well...theyre mostly raging lesbos....but you get the point), and have never seen any compelling reason for shitting on someones sexual orientation.  The notion that marriage in America is some kind of sacred hetero institution is laughable at best.  In this context, I want to make that clear, because I have never heard any serious discussion about LBGT members of the birding community, and you and I both know that they are out there.  

What, exactly, is the prevailing attitude towards homosexuality in the birding community?  When I ponder this question, my first thoughts drift to a kind of don't ask, don't tell policy.  Among young people (in birding circles, this could simply mean under 40), I think its safe to say that we are mostly pretty supportive of people doing whatever they want as long as it isnt destructive to anyone else.  Of course, some kids who are way into Jesus or what have you may often draw the line at gay marriage, which can rightly be interpreted as thinly-veiled homophobia, but I won't venture far down that mucky road.  

But what about older generations?  Its difficult to say.  A lot of birding friends aren't capable of discussing anything beyond the gonydeal angles of large gulls, so there isn't a lot of discourse about this subject.  Is the birding community more or less tolerant than the national average?  And what proportion of us like to swing different ways?  If you take the extremely conservative (and probably inaccurate) estimate of having 1 LGBT person for every 100 Americans, factor in that there are tens of millions of us birders in the U.S. alone (anyone know the figure?).....that leaves you, roughly, with a lot of really gay birders out there.

Personally, Ive met a number of gay/bi birders (which is substantially more than the number of black birdwatchers Ive come across), but no one I thought was trans (although understandably, this can be hard to discern at a glance).  Ive met a few that could definitely be characterized as homophobic as well, which was........awkward.  What have your experiences been?  Something to ponder in these very gay times.

Finally, here is a good read about rampant homosexuality in a population of King Penguins.  Enjoy!


  1. Ahoy from a gender-queer, mixed race (though white mostly), working class (though movin up through geekery and the academy) birder.

  2. @FlickerBoi - Alright! An island in the monotonous birder sea...

  3. Being gay makes as much difference as having red hair.