Taxpayer-funded museum says its plants are 'queer'

I know that lots of people like to anthropomorphize animals, especially their pets.  Heck, I think of our dog as a member of the family and attribute all kinds of motives and emotions to her that aren't exactly based in science.  And I am aware of recent research that claims that plants "scream" when cut or stressed.  But imputing homosexuality to vegetative life strikes me as a matter of self-obsession when it comes to a museum that calls itself "a nationally designated site of LGBTQ+ history."

The National Pulse reports:

Alice Austen House, a designated LGBTQ+ museum based in Staten Island, New York City, is claiming all of the plants in the museum's gardens are queer or transgender, as part of a new 'Queer Ecologies Garden Project' in time for Pride Month.

The mushrooms in the garden "are super queer in so many ways," says Ms. Munro, who is trying to make the museum's gardens "a welcoming space for L.G.B.T.Q. New Yorkers."

Ms. Munro also says wisteria and lavender are queer because "[t]hey are all purple, which is this historically queer color."

Seriously?  Wisteria is gay because of its color?

"[M]any plants and flowers, to use human terms, are transgender or bisexual, in that they can change sex or have both reproductive organs and can self-pollinate," asserts Alyson Krueger for a New York Times article on the subject.

The museum is dedicated to the work of the late photographer Alice Austen, who photographed Staten Island and Manhattan for decades.  I guess that because she lived in a long-term lesbian relationship, that makes her especially worthy of remembering, at least in the eyes of some.

The named donors to the museum include local corporations like Con Edison, but also taxpayer-funded agencies like

  • New York City Council Discretionary Funding Initiative
  • New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council
  • New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature

I have no animus toward the museum, and I support its mission of saving and exhibiting historical photos.  But I think claims like this detract from the museum's mission.

Photo credit: Ron DickerCC BY-SA 4.0 license.

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