No Gay Animals On Noah's Ark
Like many Russell Crowe fans, I ran to see Darren Aronofsky's controversial film "Noah" on opening day.
The normative storyline of the Noah narrative to kids today is that of a big boat, a huge flood, a horde of cute little animals, and the significance of the dove and the rainbow as a way to gently get across the importance of obeying God.
But with the biblical Noah narrative having morphed into one of today's best beloved bible bedtime stories and animated movie for kids, how do you unmask its heterosexist moorings...and not be disobeying God?
How do you tell kids God is wrong?
How do you convey to kids- straight and LGBTQ- that queer animals should receive the assurance of God's covenant of safety during a tumultuous storm, too?
For example, who would have thought that the politics of same-sex coupling of birds would a debatable topic in the marriage equality state of Massachusetts?
But during the summer of 2005, more than a year after same-sex marriage became legal in the state, Boston’s beloved pair of swans in the Public Garden -- named Romeo and Juliet -- had been having a love affair that dares not speak its name. And as Bay Staters bantered and bickered over whether the two should be allowed to stay together or be separated, these swans were being subjected to the same queries that have plagued same-sex couples in heterosexist societies for centuries- even in Noah’s time.
Assuming that the swans were heterosexual until one of the couple’s eggs went unfertilized, Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department decided to conduct a "detailed gender test" by examining the swans’ reproductive organs. The findings disclosed that Romeo and Juliet were really more like Juliet and Juliet.
The city disclosed its findings, but very reluctantly, "for fear of destroying the image of a Shakespearean love story unfolding," as reported in "The Boston Globe."
Spokeswoman Mary Hines of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department told "The Boston Globe," "Each year when the swans go in, the kids immediately come to us and say, ’Which one’s Romeo and which one’s Juliet?’"
Where the public might have thought a male was needed to make them a complete or authentic couple, neither of the girls seemed to be lamenting, "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Why? Because on any given day at the Public Garden you saw them swimming happily together in the lagoon.
Moreover, the swans have been cohabiting for two years. Animal scientists have observed the monogamous nature of swans whether they are in opposite-sex or same-sex coupling -- they stay with their mates until death, which can occur between 20 to 30 years.
Same-sex coupling is not a new phenomenon in the animal world. However, the disclosure of it doesn’t come without arguments to pathologize it.
In the last scene in the Noah story, a rainbow appears representing God’s promise to never destroy the earth by flood.
I wanted to see two queer doves flying across the rainbow representing God’s promise to us, too.