Link to same-sex behaviour in animals video: vimeo.com/129345008
From an evolutionary viewpoint, homosexuality is a puzzle because same-sex relationships have no or few offspring. In this video, we examine examples of social functions of homosexual activities in humans. Homosexual behaviour can, just like heterosexual behaviour, help in the formation of alliances. For example, in the Lovedu, the Venda, the Zulu, and the Tonga, women acquire wives of their own to free themselves from domestic duties (Weir 2006). Same-sex relationships also help individuals survive and subsequently reproduce. In some tribes in Melanesia, for example, younger men establish relationships with older men to improve their access to food (Herdt 1993). It has also been proposed that same-sex relationships might help individuals to climb the social ladder.
We conclude our video by showcasing prejudice against homosexuality. When considering homophobia, it is important to distinguish prejudice and discrimination. People may have prejudices and stereotypes about homosexuals but do not necessarily act on these prejudices to intervene with the rights of gay people (discrimination). Society creates stereotypes about people based on their sexuality, but sexuality does not define who we are. Much of our prejudices stem from the isolation from these out-group persons. Indeed, research has shown that interpersonal contact with homosexuals and sexual minorities such as transgender persons can reduce stereotyping and improve intergroup relationships (Grack & Richman 2008; Walch et al. 2012; West & Hewstone 2012).
Weir J 2006. Chiefly women and women's leadership in precolonial southern Africa. In: G. Nomboniso (Ed.): Women in South African history: they remove boulders and cross river. Pp. 3–20. HSRC Press, Cape Town
Herdt GH 1993. Ritualized homosexuality in Melanesia (No. 2). University of California Press.
Grack C & Richman CL 2008. Reducing general and specific heterosexism through cooperative contact. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 8:59-68.
Walch SE et al. 2012. Using intergroup contact theory to reduce stigma against transgender individuals: Impact of a transgender speaker panel presentation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 42: 2583–2605.
West K & Hewstone M 2012. Culture and contact in the promotion and reduction of anti-gay prejudice: Evidence from Jamaica and Britain 59: 44-66.
Directed by Cedric Tan (wildcru.org/members/dr-cedric-kai-wei-tan/)
Produced by Sozos Michaelides (zoo.ox.ac.uk/egi/members/sozos-michaelides/)
Director of Photography Xinyang Hong (worldpictured.com/videos)
Co-choreographed by Hannah Moore
Costumes designed by Fahimeh Soltani
DOP assistant Andy Tran
Dancers: Sozos Michaelides, Cedric Tan, Inés Dawson, Mattias Carlberg, Filip Hartelius, Evan Elise, Zoe Kelly, Claire Burley, Nuno Freitas.
Judges: Zaneta Kaszta, Edwin Simpson, Jason Hess, Fahimeh Soltani
Music written, performed and produced by Stuart Noah
Additional vocals: Edwin Simpson and Zoe McGee
Music supervisor Antica Culina
Drums by Rene Niehus
Funded by LGBTQ Society, University of Oxford
Filmed at Wadham College, Univeristy of Oxford