A professor in the United Kingdom suggested that people may find a “perverse joy” in celebrating the “queerness” of birds incapable of reproduction because of pollution.
The Free Press last week highlighted research conducted by Anne Pollock, the head of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London, who wrote that “posing intersex characteristics” as a metric of an environment’s health is a move “steeped in heteronormativity.”
“I want to suggest that we depathologize queer animals, even when that queerness is the product of human-produced toxins in the environment, and even when it inhibits animals’ reproductive capacity,” Pollock wrote in a paper called “Queering Endocrine Disruption.”
“Perhaps we even might find a perverse joy here,” she added.
Tackling the issue from a “queer feminist perspective,” Pollock wondered whether society should automatically scrutinize the “flourishing of nonreproductive male pairs of birds” and hypothesized that the pollutant-induced intoxication of the birds itself might be a state of being worth celebrating.
“Although these birds’ sociality is circumscribed (no intergenerational community), it is not erased (male pairing). Their stroll is neither suicidal nor solitary. These birds are living in the moment and for themselves, rather than for the children,” she wrote.
“Yeah, maybe these birds are ‘f—ed up’ by their polluted environment,” Pollock continued. “But I do not think that I am saying too much about my own experiences of intoxication, or assuming too much about that of the reader, to point out that it can be fun to be f—ed up.”
Free Press writer Nellie Bowles, critiquing the author’s work, noted that Pollock’s perspective is part of a growing movement to embrace endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the air and water and the changes they produce in living beings.
“This movement considers it transphobic to be so worried about environmental toxins disrupting fetal sex development in animals (including the human animal),” Bowles added.
Pollock’s research explores “feminist, anti-racist, and postcolonial engagements with science, technology and medicine.”
Recently, she co-authored a study to determine the value of moving analysis of race and biomedicine outside the laboratory. The study, in part, asks how “genetic ideas of race” are adopted, deployed, and “potentially reworked outside the laboratory environment.”
According to the Natural History Museum in London, seabirds have developed a new disease caused exclusively by plastic pollution. The condition, known as plasticosis, scars animal digestive tracts from ingesting human waste and was discovered in March.
According to research, it is the first recorded example of plastic-induced fibrosis in wild animals.
Researchers have long suggested that exposure to certain chemicals can lead to homosexuality in various bird species.
One famous study found that male American white ibises with higher levels of mercury were less likely to be approached by females and had a higher chance of being involved in a homosexual pairing. As the level of mercury exposure increased, so did the degree and persistence of homosexual pairing.
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