Dance to debunk stereotypes

3rd June 2015

News, Student news, Alumni news

A new video by Wadham Biology lecturer Cedric Tan uses dance to highlight research showing that homosexual behaviour occurs in over five hundred species.

Play Do your D.A.N.C.E: Debunking sAme-sex aNimal prejudiCe and stereotypEs

Do your D.A.N.C.E: Debunking sAme-sex aNimal prejudiCe and stereotypEs was released on Vimeo and You Tube on 31 May.

Asking ‘Is homosexual behaviour unnatural?’ the three minute video responds that more than five hundred species display homosexual behaviour, while only one displays homophobia.

Said lyricist Karl Heibron: “Evidence such as this has been involved in overturning anti-sodomy laws in the USA (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003) and we hope that our video will help further current gay rights movements around the world. Of course, not everything that is natural is also good (e.g. infanticide in lions), but persecuting people for their sexual orientation on the grounds that it is unnatural is unjustified.”

“The majority of species explored in this video would be better described as bisexual—homosexual behaviour occurs alongside reproductive heterosexual sex. This homosexual sex serves a number of useful functions like conflict resolution and bonding. Homosexual orientation akin to what we are familiar with in humans is less common, but has been well-documented in species such as sheep, penguins, and Japanese macaques (monkeys).”

Funded by the University of Oxford LGBTQ Society and filmed at Wadham College, the video which combines dance, rap, graphics and humour, is directed by Cedric Tan and produced by Sozos Michaelides. A follow-up  video on same sex behaviour in humans is to be released on 18 June.

The video has been entered in the Evolution Video Competition run by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). The finalists will be screened at the Evolution 2015 conference, which is being held in Guarujá, Brazil from June 26-30, 2015

Cedric and his team won this competition in 2012 with a dance video The evolution of an alternative male mating strategy: Socialising with less attractive rivals.

  • An image from Do your D.A.N.C.E: Debunking sAme-sex aNimal prejudiCe and stereotypEs