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COMMUNITY VOICES Winging their way to gayness Scientists in Florida have

discovered that when male white ibises eat too much mercury, they turn gay.

Don’t blame an overbearing ibis mother. Blame the metal. Suspicious that mercury

had led to lower breeding levels among the wading birds, re- searchers fed groups of ibises varying levels of mercury for more than three years. The results shocked the stuffing out of the scientists. The higher the mercury dose,

the more likely a bird was to sing show tunes.

These new Friends of Doro-

thy “pretty much did everything except lay eggs,” said study leader Peter Frederick to The

actual use for ex-gay groups. Ex- gay leaders can take ibises under their wing and lead them back to heterosexuality. The success rate might just be a bit higher than it is with people.

Speaking of people, Frederick

frets that “people will read this and immediately jump to the conclusion that humans eating mercury are going to be gay.” “I want to be very explicit

that this study has nothing to say about that,” he stressed. Doubtless some parents have nonetheless purged their larder of tuna fish, tossed the ther- mometer, and made a date at the dentist’s to convert all of Junior’s mercury fillings. And if they hadn’t already

banned from the house the music of Freddie Mercury (see page 16), they have now. Frederick also said that what’s

true for ibises isn’t necessar- ily true for other species, even other bird species. So jump to no conclusions about a couple of male green herons that adore each other’s company. Make no assumptions about the two rose- ate spoonbills with a passion for pomegranate martinis. The turtles that hide during

Birds of a feather will flock together—especially white male ibises with mercury poisoning.

Miami Herald. “They built nests, they copulated, they sat in the nests together.”

They went to a lesbian flamingo therapist when no egg appeared.

Male ibises with any mer-

cury intake were more reticent to perform ritual courtship displays, causing numbers of female ibises to cry together over Cosmopolitans. In the high-mercury birds,

reproduction plunged 35 percent. Complaints from wannabe grand- parents soared 65 percent. The mercury levels in the experiment mirrored those found in the birds’ natural wetland habi- tats. Frederick, a wildlife ecolo- gist at the University of Florida, told “the implication is that this is probably happening in wild bird populations.” Which means the wilderness is getting wilder. Not a good thing, in this case.

These beautiful, long-billed birds are being poisoned into gayness. In wild populations of ibis with no mercury exposure, same-sex pairings don’t occur. Well, it probably happens

once in a while, when the tequila is plentiful and the birds are bi- curious, but not as a rule. We should go with what

nature intended. Let’s keep the ibises straight and the people gay! In south Florida, mercury leeched into the Everglades for years, mainly from the burning of municipal and medical waste. Frederick said, “Most mercury sources are local rather than global—local enough that we can do something about it, such as installing scrubbers on smoke stacks. Ecosystems respond very quickly to regulatory action when it comes to mercury.” But how will the birds re-

spond? If their diet is cleaned up, will they revert to being straight? If they need a little help, then by George, we might’ve found an

mating season are simply shy. And the alligators that agree they’d make lovely boots are merely metrosexual. I visited south Florida this


past year, and I watched ibises. I admit to my shame that I didn’t notice any gay goings-on. This is probably because I can’t tell males from females. I needed obvious indicators of homosexuality. Now, had two canoodling birds sported Prada shoes, I would’ve caught on.♚

—Leslie Robinson should learn to tell male from female. E-mail her at, and check out her blog at general-


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December. Expires: 12/31/10


Remember when Jesus spared a prostitute from being stoned? In August, we were filled

with the joy of learning we could marry our same-sex partners, only to be denied that right until further notice. The LGBT com- munity united and braced for a long legal battle. A month later, a rash of sui-

cides across our nation remind- ed us of the pain bullying inflicts, and where current policies and

December 17-30, 2010 GAY SAN DIEGO


legislation fail to protect our youth. An LGBT community out- raged at the societal implications of these deaths responded with thousands of YouTube videos of- fering hope and encouragement that “It Gets Better.” Now, we find ourselves suf-

fering another blow. It appears Congress chose to stay silent on another repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Another waiting game. Yet some of our legislators are scrambling to present an Obama- backed standalone DADT repeal bill before they leave D.C. for the

see Solace, pg 21

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