Why Don't Homosexual Men Become Extinct? Evolutionary Insights from Samoa

March 29, 2012 :: Paul Vasey
Moderated by Tad Mitsui

Research indicates that there is some genetic influence on male homosexuality, yet homosexual males reproduce at a fraction of the rate of heterosexual males, if at all. This raises the question as to why genes associated with male homosexuality do not become extinct? Cross-cultural research conducted in the Polynesian island nation of Samoa provides intriguing and unexpected answers to this question—answers which underscores the importance of biology and culture.

Speaker: Paul L Vasey, Ph.D.

Paul Vasey is a faculty member of the University of Lethbridge Psychology Department. He conducts cross-species and cross-cultural research to answer the question: If reproduction is the engine that drives evolution, why engage in non-conceptive sex? For the past decade he has conducted research on the development and evolution of female homosexual behavior in free-ranging Japanese monkeys at Arashiyama, Japan. He also studies the development and evolution male same-sex sexual attraction in humans at field sites in Samoa, Japan and Canada. Since 2003, he has worked in Samoa with members of the fa’afafine community—biological males who live “in the manner of a woman.”

Dr. Vasey is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on sexuality and gender and co-editor of the books, Animal Homosexuality: An Evolutionary Perspective (2006) and The Monkeys of Stormy Mountain: 60 Years of Primatological Research on the Monkeys of Arashiyama (2012). He has been invited to give public lectures throughout the USA, Canada, England, New Zealand, Japan and Samoa. Dr. Vasey is a member of the Editorial Board of the Archives of Sexual Behavior. His work has also been the subject of various documentaries on television (National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer, Discovery Channel) and the radio (U.S National Public Radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Netherlands) and has been reported on in hundreds of newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times and The Economist.

Moderator: Tad Mitsui

Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $10.00 (includes lunch)

Share URL: http://sacpa.ca/N9e14