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CRIME AGAINST NATURE
CRIME AGAINST NATURE
a more accurate telling of what's natural
foreword by Joan Roughgarden
This book was published in connection with the exhibition of
Crime Against Nature at Place, Portland, OR, USA, in November
and December of 2012.
Essay ©2012 by Joan Roughgarden.
Gwenn Seemel does not claim copyright on her images or her
words, but she would appreciate it if you would give her credit
when you use her images or her words.
Financial support for Crime Against
Nature, both the series and the book,
was provided by the lovely people who
generously contributed to the author's
Kickstarter as well as by the Regional
Arts and Culture Council.
Arts & Culture
125 Further reading
126 List of images
by Joan Roughgarden
This book's beautiful images inspire us to see nature and to see ourselves as rich
with possibility. They encourage freedom from stereotypes that dictate how we live,
love and raise our children.
Ideas of biological norms for men and women are ingrained in our subconscious.
We take them along with much of nature for granted, like the color of the sky, the
ocean, the leaves. It's absurd to paint the sky as green, the ocean as red, and
leaves as black. That would be another planet, not ours. Yet, Gwenn Seemel has
painted animals whose roles as males and females are so different from ours they
might also seem from another planet. Nonetheless, all the animals that Gwenn
portrays enjoy perfectly healthy and workable schemes of social organization--and
on our planet. We live among these animals, they are our distant relatives, we
share genes with them, and God has blessed their presence, metaphorically, by
granting them passage on the Ark. The features of the animals Gwenn portrays are
not to be shunned, ridiculed or demeaned but consciously savored as though
drawn by God on a sacred icon and presented through his grace for us to explore,
contemplate, appreciate and conserve.
The facts and stories that Gwenn colorfully illustrates have only been available
before as prose-black print on white paper. Over ten years ago I wrote a book,
Evolution's Rainbow, about the diversity that Gwenn's pictures reveal. But my book
had no illustrations, only lots of words, and it's humbling to see how much more
can be be communicated through the medium of art than of print--a picture really
is worth a thousand words.
Ten years ago the diversity in this book was largely unknown even to biologists.
Back then a biologist might occasionally hear of an animal species with "weird"
gender and sex roles, but no compilation had been made of what nature had to
offer. I thought it would be interesting to put all the cases up on a blackboard, so to
speak, to see the overall pattern and quantity of sex/gender diversity. From that
effort Evolution's Rainbow was born, and many of the examples from that book are
brought to life here in Gwenn's paintings.
The surprising natural diversity now apparent in gender and sex roles and in
styles of family organization has provoked discomfort. What does it all mean? How
can I fit this new information into my life, be it my personal values, religious beliefs,
political policies or scientific theories? Today's evidence of diversity blows the dust
off old theories and dogmas, dust that has yet to settle.
In science, the diversity challenges Darwin about male and female gender roles,
roles embodied in his famous peacock examples. Darwin's story of "passionate"
peacocks displaying their tails before "coy" peahens seeking mates with the best
genes is now suspect and scientists wonder how to modify or replace this vener-
In politics, the definition of marriage, and whether the institution can be extended
to homosexual couples, is hotly debated among different states in the US and
across different countries.
In religion, admission of gay, lesbian and transgendered people to the ministry, to
ordination as bishops, and to liturgies designed for blessing of same-sex unions
leads to questions of conscience about the limits of inclusion.
In our personal lives, many have needed to accommodate persons of varied
gender expression and sexuality in the workplace, and have even discovered a
hidden diversity among relatives as family members come out.
One question comes up over and over when human diversity is revealed: Is it
natural? That is, is human diversity also reflected throughout nature or is it some
pathology existing in special depraved human conditions? Many respond by
answering that whatever animals do is irrelevant to what we do--we are creatures
created in God's image and charged by him to act morally. If human diversity in
gender expression, sexuality and family life is found in animals too, so what? How
animals behave should be irrelevant to our own moral analysis. "Is" does not imply
"ought." If animals do something, then it does not follow that we humans should or
should not do that too. Still, time and time again, expressions of human diversity
are castigated as being "against nature" as though the absence of animal counter-
parts was evidence of a moral wrong. Showing that human gender, sexuality and
family-life diversity is found, and even exceeded, within the animal kingdom there-
fore proves that such diversity is not "against nature." That does not make the
diversity right, but does refute the accusation of being unnatural.
Is there then a "crime against nature," as this book is titled? I think so. It is to hide
or distort the truth about the diversity that really does exist.
Joan Roughgarden, PhD, is a professor emerita of biology at Stanford
University and an evolutionary biologist whose work over the last forty
years has been at the forefront of the field. She has received a Guggen-
heim Fellowship and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and
I always assumed that I would have children one day. It wasn't something that I
felt strongly about one way or the other: I just thought it was something I would do.
Then, a few years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease which
causes infertility in many women. Suddenly, the future I hadn't cared much about
seemed important. The maybe-never of it put me in a should-l-even-try frame of
After being told again and again that the urge to reproduce is primordial, I turned
to nature to look for the origins of our baby-making assumptions. To begin with, all
I found was the animal version of "first comes love, then comes marriage, then
comes the baby in the baby carriage." But I wasn't convinced.
Slowly but surely, I unraveled the mystery of this seemingly universal formula. I
began to understand that the scientists who described animal behavior could be as
stuck in a nursery rhyme version of normalcy as I was. And I began to find scien-
tists who weren't.
As I researched, I broadened my question. I could see that this wasn't just about
baby-making. It was about all the things that we think women and men have to be
in order to be natural.
For all my investigating and exploring, I still couldn't control whether or not I can
have children, but I could decide to have a children's book instead. So I did. I
wrote this book. It's meant for the kid in all of us: the person who hasn't yet felt the
pressure to conform, the one who still sees the infinite possibilities of being.
Boys aren't always bigger than
Among eagles and raptors of all kinds, it's common for the female to be
larger than the male. This size difference allows a male-female pair to
pursue different prey, ensuring that everyone has enough to eat.
Sometimes girls are just a bit
With the exception of a couple of species of filter feeding sharks who eat
mostly plankton, great white sharks are the largest fish in the ocean.
Females can grow to over twenty feet long, while males are usually no
more than eighteen feet.
But girls can be more than twice
as big as boys.
Blue marlin fish are prized among sport fishermen, and marlins weighing
one thousand pounds are called "granders" in those circles. Only
female blue marlins grow to that size or bigger. Males tend to be closer
to three hundred pounds.
In fact, girls can dwarf boys.
As with most kinds of anglerfish, when a male fanfin seadevil finds a
mate, he latches onto her with his teeth. Over time, his half inch body
merges with her eight inch body, and their circulatory systems fuse.
When the female is ready to spawn, she has sperm readily available.
And the biggest animal in the
world is a girl.
Though it's difficult to take precise measurements of very large animals
underwater, it's certain that the blue whale is the largest creature in exis-
tence and it's likely that it's the largest one ever to have lived. These
whales come close to one hundred feet in length, and the females of the
species are larger than the males.
What's more, boys can be the
Blue peacocks were supposed to have evolved their colorful predator-
attracting tails as a way to impress the comparatively plain hens, but
more recent research indicates that the evolutionary pressures respon-
sible for the beautiful display were more about fitting in with the other
cocks and less about giving the females something to cluck about.
Boys are sometimes just a little
more colorful than girls...
Female mandrills live in hordes of several hundred individuals, and the
normally solitary males interact with the female groups only during
mating season. Though both sexes of this monkey species have
colorful markings on their faces, the males' coloring is brighter and only
they sport nearly neon behinds.
and sometimes a lot more.
Chameleons do not and cannot change color to match any hue in their
environment. Instead, their shifts in color occur subconsciously, based
on temperature, light, and mood, and they occur only within the natural
color range of the particular kind of chameleon. Among panther chame-
leons, the females tend toward earth tones, while males exhibit a variety
of jewel tones.
Then again, girls and boys don't
always look any different from
Zebras of both sexes tend to be the same size, which means that they
have the same feeding requirements. This allows males and females to
forage together in co-ed groups, an unusual arrangement for ungulates.
It can be hard to tell them apart
by just looking at them.
In many species of rabbits, the female is slightly larger than the male.
Among European rabbits, the opposite is true, but the difference is gen-
erally negligible, and both sexes have the same coloring.
This can be confusing, but it's
important to remember that girls
and boys don't have to look
different from each other.
In most species of deer, only the male grows antlers, but among
reindeer both sexes sport these bony structures on their heads. Starting
in middle or late spring, all reindeer grow the new year's set of antlers,
but males lose theirs by the end of November. Meanwhile, females
retain their antlers for an additional seven months, meaning that the
famous red-nosed reindeer cannot be male.
Sometimes boys and girls are
girls and boys.
Leopard slugs are hermaphrodites. Each one reproduces as both a
male and a female. When two slugs mate, they accept sperm from one
another and then lay eggs.
And some species can't be
described in terms of "girls" and
Some male Coho salmon return to the rivers from the ocean to spawn
after just two years. These males are called jacks and, though they are
smaller than the males or the females who return after three years, they
are mature males whose offspring can be any of the three genders of
Animals can come in three
genders, girls and two different
kinds of boys.
Most male elk grow antlers, but some do not and, in that way, those
males outwardly resemble females. They may be in better physical con-
dition than males who have antlers, and they mate successfully.
Some even come in four.
White-throated sparrows have two different types of coloring, white-
striped and tan-striped. There are white-striped females and white-
striped males as well as tan-striped females and tan-striped males.
White-striped birds of both sexes tend to be more territorial and aggres-
sive than the tan-striped birds of either sex. White-striped sparrows
form the most successful mating teams with tan-striped birds.
Boys can become girls.
When a clownfish female is removed from her anemone home, the male
turns into a female and one of their young becomes a mature male. The
new pair continues to breed in the same anemone.
And girls can become boys
Some male bluehead wrasse stay male throughout their lives, and some
females stay female, while other females become males. The males
who started out as female are the largest of the three genders and also
the fish that give this species its name.
While during some parts of the
year some girls don't have
It used to be believed that all European moles were male through their
first year and only then did some become female. This bit of folklore
stems from the fact that, outside the breeding period, the female's
vagina is sealed with a layer of skin. Since the female urinates through
a structure which closely resembles a male's penis, it is impossible to
sex moles by looking at these parts during certain times of the year.
...other girls always have
Female spotted hyenas dominate the pack. Their genitals resemble the
males' genitals, and they use their penises socially, with one individual's
erection signifying submission to another individual. This kind of genita-
lia tends to make both mating with males and childbirth complicated.
Some boys and girls don't make
babies at all.
Gray wolves tend to live in packs with only the dominant male and the
dominant female reproducing. Other members of the pack nurture the
young along with the parents.
And sometimes the boys and
girls who don't make babies
don't even help with childcare.
Red foxes have a communal breeding system similar to that of wolves,
but, among these foxes, nonbreeders do not always contribute to
rearing the young.
Girls don't always prefer
Only one female gray squirrel in a given area comes into estrus at a
time. When she does, she mates with numerous males, despite the
attempts of some of her mates to fight off other males.
...and the sexual behavior of
girls can be aggressive.
After mating, the female African mantis, along with female praying
mantises of all kinds, often eats the male.
Some girls aren't very good at
There are high instances of infertility among female camels. As with
most domesticated animals, the fertility rate among camels is the
subject of intense study. At this point, the female dromedary's troubles
is blamed on the mismanagement of herds, but it should be noted that
both conception and childbirth can be difficult and deadly in many
species, domesticated or otherwise.
...while other girls are so good
at it that they don't need any
help from boys.
As with a number of lizard species, the female Bynoe's gecko can
produce an unfertilized clutch of eggs which will result in young who are
genetically identical to her.
Some girls can even make boy
babies without ever having had
sex with boys.
The female komodo dragon can produce male offspring without the con-
tribution of a male. Because the female komodo dragon has ZW sex
chromosomes and the male has ZZ, a female can lay eggs with just one
Z chromosome and that egg will eventually develop into the ZZ of a
Girls can control the
development of babies.
Female red kangaroos give birth after just thirty-three days of gestation.
Tiny and blind, the newborn must crawl through the fur of its mother's
abdomen to get to her pouch, where the baby can suckle and continue
to develop. The female may become pregnant again almost immedi-
ately, but she can pause the development of the fetus until the joey in
her pouch is further developed.
And sometimes girls aren't the
ones who give birth.
In all species of seahorse, including the pot-bellied seahorse, the female
inserts a tube into a hole in the abdomen of the male, depositing her
eggs in his pouch. The male incubates the eggs inside his body and
gives birth to live baby seahorses.
Boys can carry babies too.
Among hip-pocket frogs, the young spend eleven days in eggs, which
the female has laid on the forest floor. The male watches over the eggs
and is present when the tadpoles hatch so that the young can crawl up
his legs into special pockets in his flanks. Six weeks later, the young
leave the male's pockets fully formed.
Also, girls aren't necessarily
more interested in taking care of
children than boys.
Female emus mate with males, lay eggs, and then move on, often times
mating with multiple males in a single season. The male incubates his
eggs, which have usually been laid by various females. Once the young
are hatched the male nurtures them for up to seven months, defending
them from predators and teaching them to find food.
Sometimes boys feed babies.
Among mammals, the female tends to be more involved in childcare
than the male since the young gestate inside the female's body where
the male cannot access them. That said, not all male mammals fail to
parent actively. For example, male Dayak fruit bats can produce milk to
feed their young from their nipples.
Boys can be just as committed
to childcare as girls.
Emperor penguin parents work together to raise their young. Directly
after laying her egg, the female takes off to feed in the ocean for two
months, leaving the male to incubate the egg. The chick's first meal
comes from its father in the form of crop milk. Prolactin, the hormone
that causes lactation in mammals, is responsible for the production of
crop milk as well.
• ^ m &
As teenagers, girls don't do all
American crows form monogamous breeding pairs. Juvenile crows,
both male and female, often stay with their parents for a few seasons to
help raise younger birds. In this way, family groups can grow to fifteen
Plenty of boys help raise
Meerkats are small, burrowing mammals who live in clans of twenty or
more individuals. The group includes one or more breeding pairs, and
animals of both sexes take turns watching over the young at the nest
while the remainder of the clan forages for food.
What's more, girls can be the
ones who do the hunting.
Lionesses do the hunting for a lion pride, while males focus on protect-
ing the group's territory from other males.
And boys can be vegetarians
while girls eat from other
Not all species of mosquitoes suck blood. Among those that do, includ-
ing the dengue mosquito, only the female feeds off other animals, since
she requires a blood meal in order to produce eggs. The male eats
Boys don't always dominate
girls in social hierarchies.
Among ring-tailed lemurs, females dominate males socially. They are
responsible for defending their troop's territory from other lemurs, and
they do so with threatening behaviors and the occasional physical
aggression as well as by marking their turf with scent.
Girls can be the ones in charge.
Male bees are called drones. They have single, unpaired chromo-
somes, meaning that they have no father and carry only the genetic
material of their mother, the queen. They do not forage for pollen or
contribute to the maintenance of the hive. Their sole purpose is to mate
with a queen from another hive, and they die once they have done so.
Other times, boys and girls live
in separate groups and don't
see each other very much.
As with most ungulates, giraffe females and males live in separate herds
most of the time. Cows work together to raise young, while bulls forage
in bachelor herds.
Girls don't always partner with
Among western gulls, females often nest with females, forming a pair-
bond that can last several years. The females perform courtship rituals
with one another, mate, and incubate eggs together. Since both male
and female gulls often mate with birds outside pair-bonds, some of the
female pairs' eggs can be fertile.
Sometimes girls have sex with
Both male and female bottlenose dolphins participate in homosexual
exchanges and, usually, they do so more than participating in hetero-
sexual encounters. Females seek out clitoral stimulation and other non-
procreative sexual interactions from partners of both sexes.
And some girls have sex with
girls and boys.
Among the bonobos, females dominate males socially. Reinforced by
frequent mutual sexual stimulation, their same-sex bonds form the core
of bonobo social organization. Males are not excluded from these affec-
tions; bonobos of both sexes engage in sexual encounters with males
and females alike.
Some girls just prefer girls to
Female Japanese macaques often form consortships, exclusive sexual
pair-bonds with other females. These associations last anywhere from
a few days to a few weeks, and they play an important role in the social
dynamics of a species with a complex dominance hierarchy.
...and other girls are never
interested in partnering with
As with most species of parrots, peach-faced lovebirds form monoga-
mous pair-bonds that last a lifetime. When two females choose each
other, they engage in behavior similar to heterosexual couples. They
mate with each other, build nests together, lay eggs, and incubate
them-though their eggs are usually infertile.
The opposite is also true. Boys
don't always partner with girls.
Since heterosexual mating among gorillas takes place between one
male and the multiple females who associate with him, it is not
uncommon for there to be sexually mature male gorillas without mates.
These males tend to gather in bachelor groups where they may engage
in homosexual exchanges.
Sometimes boys have sex with
During the summer and fall when orcas congregate to feed on salmon
runs, males leave their groups to engage in homosexual behavior,
playing with many other males in hour-long sessions.
And some boys have sex with
boys and girls.
When red-sided garter snakes emerge from winter hibernation to mate,
they are cold. The first male snakes to arrive at the surface use the sun
to raise their body temperature. The next wave of snakes-also
males-attract the warm males with a perfume that all snakes exude
when exiting the den. Warm and cold males writhe around in mating
balls, waiting for the appearance of the females who will also use the
perfume to announce their presence.
Some boys just prefer boys to
By ten years old, male walruses are sexually mature, but it is not until a
few years later that they mate with females. Juvenile males, sexually
mature males between the ages of ten and fifteen, and older males all
participate in affectionate and sexual behaviors with each other through-
out the year.
...and other boys are never
interested in partnering with
Among bighorn sheep, males and females live separately, coming
together only during the mating season. Throughout the year and even
during the rut, rams engage in extensive homosexual behaviors with
Sometimes boys mate with girls,
but leave once the babies are
Among black rhinoceroses, adults come together to mate, but after a
few days or a few weeks they separate again. Mothers raise their calves
for two to three years but chase them away as they prepare to give birth
Then again, sometimes girls
mate with boys and skip out
before the children need any
The African bullfrog male watches over his tadpoles as they develop,
protecting them from predators and insuring that they have access to
enough water by digging channels between nursery pools and larger
pools of water.
Sometimes two girls raise
Grizzly bears mate during the summer, but the female does not become
pregnant immediately, instead delaying embryo implantation until hiber-
nation. If her caloric intake over the summer was sufficient, she will give
birth in mid-winter, often to twins. Mother and cubs remain in the den for
a few more months, leaving as spring arrives. At this point, the female
will sometimes form a friendship with another mother and share in child-
...and sometimes two boys
parent as a team.
Among black swans, males sometimes pair-bond with other males.
These couples tend to be successful as parents since the combined
strength of two males allows the swans to maintain a larger nesting terri-
tory. They acquire eggs to raise either by briefly forming a trio with a
female or by taking over the nest of a heterosexual couple.
Children can even be raised by
an extended family of individuals
brought together by blood or by
Like many ungulates, male and female African elephants live in
separate groups. Led by a matriarch, female herds are composed of
related and unrelated elephants, all of them working together to raise
There are so many ways to be,
but, no matter how different we
may seem, it's important to
remember how similar we really
Birds belonging to the columbidae family are sometimes called "doves"
and sometimes called "pigeons." Which term is applied to which bird is
based loosely on size, with the smaller birds tending to be referred to as
"doves" and the larger ones as "pigeons," but this categorization is not
used consistently. Still, despite the fact that these terms are assigned
rather arbitrarily, they have acquired cultural meanings: the birds we call
"doves" are cherished as symbols of peace while all other birds of the
columbidae family are reviled as dirty pests.
We all want to live, love, and
be loved. And our individual
expressions of these same
needs are what make our
world so beautiful.
What's seen as "natural" for one kind of bird is called "animalistic" for the
other, and our understanding of the lives of all birds in the columbidae
family along with our appreciation of the diversity of nature are spoiled
by these judgments.
Chromosome: an organized structure of DNA and protein found in cells, which
contains many genes.
Crop milk: a secretion from the lining of an enlarged part of a parent bird's esoph-
agus that it regurgitates for its young.
Estrus: the period when a female is sexually receptive.
Female: the sex with the larger gamete.
Gamete: a cell which fuses with another cell during fertilization in organisms that
Hermaphrodite: an organism that has both female and male reproductive organs.
Male: the sex with the smaller gamete.
Ungulate: several groups of mammals which use the tips of their toes, usually
hoofed, to sustain their body weight.
Evolution's Rainbow by Joan Roughgarden is one of the major inspirations for
Crime Against Nature. It includes an anthology of animal behaviors that break
from traditional notions of gender as well as a compelling new concept for the
mechanism driving evolution, something to replace Charles Darwin's concept of
The Genial Gene by Joan Roughgarden takes a more technical tack than
Evolution's Rainbow as it expands on the specifics of Roughgarden's concept of
Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl is more focused on homosexual
behaviors in animals than the two books mentioned above. It includes a narrative
look at nature's homosexuality as well as an extensive bibliography of scientific
research on the subject.
Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha explores the evolution of
human sexuality and comes up with some illuminating notions of what is natural.
A Tear at the Edge of Creation by Marcelo Gleiser provides invaluable insights
into the dynamic character of science and the way that our search for understand-
ing is shaped by culture.
LIST OF IMAGES
All images by Gwenn Seemel, painted in 2012 in acrylic on 10 by 10 inch panel
unless otherwise noted.
Front cover: detail of Mama bears (Grizzly bear),
full image page 115.
Back cover: detail of You can't change a woman
(Bluehead wrasse), full image page 45.
Title page: detail of Mr. and Mrs. Right, Mr. and Mrs.
Other-right (White-throated sparrow), full image
Frontispiece: detail of The Kiss (Bonobo), full
image page 95.
Page 6: detail of Queen of the sky (Bald eagle), full
image page 13.
Page 10: detail of It is easier for a camel to pass
through the eye of a needle than for a fertile woman
to understand infertility (Dromedary), full image
Page 13: Queen of the sky (Bald eagle).
Page 15: Jaws-ette (Great white shark).
Page 17: Lost grander club, girls only (Blue marlin
Page 19: Mothership (Fanfin seadevil).
Page 21 : Big mama (Blue whale).
Page 23: Impractical fashion, guy edition (Blue
Page 25: Males and their technicolor dream rumps
Page 27: Up on the catwalk (Panther chameleon).
Page 29: Uniform (Zebra).
Page 31: Common (European rabbit).
Page 33: Rudolpha (Reindeer).
Page 35: When a man-woman loves a woman-man
Page 37: Save the salmon, all three genders (Coho
Page 39: Bald and beautiful (Elk).
Page 41 : Mr. and Mrs. Right, Mr. and Mrs. Other-
right (White-throated sparrow).
Page 43: What really happened when Nemo's
mother died (Clown fish).
Page 45: You can't change a woman (Bluehead
Page 47: Open season, closed season (European
Page 49: She wears the pants (Spotted hyena).
Page 51 : Not necessarily a lone wolf (Gray wolf).
Page 53: Outfox (Red fox).
Page 55: Ladylike behavior (Gray squirrel).
Page 57: Femme fatale (African mantis).
Page 59: It is easier for a camel to pass through the
eye of a needle than for a fertile woman to under-
stand infertility (Dromedary).
Page 61 : Self-replicating (Bynoe's gecko).
Page 63: Virgin birth (Komodo dragon).
Page 65: Choice (Red kangaroo).
Page 67: Keeping the little man barefoot and
pregnant (Pot-bellied seahorse).
Prince Charming (Hip-pocket frog).
Mr. Dad (Emu).
Father and child (Dayak fruit bat).
Papa's milk (Emperor penguin).
Babysitters' club (American crow).
Family business (Meerkat).
She brings home the bacon (Lion).
He hunts for flowers (Dengue mosquito).
Defending her territory (Ring-tailed lemur).
The real Amazons (Western honey bee).
Page 91 : Free as a bird (Western gull).
Page 93: Girls just wanna have fun (Bottlenose
Page 95: The kiss (Bonobo).
Page 97: Girl power (Japanese macaque).
Page 99: Polly want a Polly (Peach-faced lovebird).
Page 101 : Don't ask, don't tell (Mountain gorilla).
Page 103: Boys' night out (Orca).
Page 105: Love-in (Red-sided garter snake).
Page 107: / am the gayman (Walrus).
Page 109: Ram tough (Bighorn sheep).
Page 111: Single mom (Black rhinoceros).
Page 113: Single dad (African bullfrog).
Page 115: Mama bears (Grizzly bear).
Page 117: Happily ever after (Black swan).
Page 119: // takes a herd to raise a child (African
Page 121: Natural (White ringneck dove).
Page 123: Animalistic (Rock pigeon).
Page 129: Before (Fragile), on 4 by 4 inch panel.
To the fifty-two people who trusted me
enough to support a secret Kickstarter.
To the two people who made me, raised
me, and continue to love me.
To the one person who sees all of me and
never tires of looking.
Gwenn Liberty Seemel is named after the Liberty Bell, a cracked ding-
dong with a venerable history. Raised part-time in the USA and part-time
in the small village in France where her mother grew up, Seemel paints
about identity and transitions. She is a working artist who has sold her
soul to the genre of portraiture and who has garnered the support of
various regional and national awards in doing so. For more information,
please visit www.gwennseemel.com.
What do single moms, stay-at-home dads, professionals who
happen to be women, men who like to dress colorfully, infertile
people, and homosexuals have in common? They're often viewed
by society as sad, bad, and even a little suspicious.
Those judgments all stem originally from one idea: that females
are naturally passive and more caring, and males are naturally
aggressive and more intelligent. It's an idea that is deeply
embedded in our social system and dictates much of our
behavior. It's also an idea that has nothing to do with what is
actually going on in nature. Crime Against Nature reveals all the
ways we can be, naturally.
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