Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender,
and Sexuality in Nature and People
by Joan Roughgarden
University of California Press
472 pages, $27.50
HOW YOU SEE a rainbow depends upon your vantage point. The author of Evolution’s Rainbow is a male-to-female transsexual and a highly respected evolutionary biologist at Stanford University. As it happens, we are well-positioned as reviewers to appreciate as much of the GLBTI spectrum—we use the “I” for “intersexual”—as Roughgarden does: collectively we have lived our lives as male, female, straight, gay, transsexual, and eunuch. We find Roughgarden’s book thorough and nuanced, but we question some of its conclusions.
Anyone looking for evidence that nature accommodates more than just males, females, and heterosexual behavior will find in Evolution’s Rainbow a plethora of supporting examples.