Gay activists are protesting about a German zoo’s decision to split up a pair of male vultures. The zoo says they were being harassed by other vultures who took exception to their unconventional lifestyle. On balance, I think the zoo acted correctly. There is no defence against queer-bashing vultures – once those rowdy birds gang up with malign intent, the victims may as well fly to New Zealand. The heartbreak suffered by the separated couple could be eased by giving them an extra helping of offal for breakfast. Anyone who’s studied vultures knows that food comes before romance in their list of priorities.
Humans occasionally ask me whether gay gorillas exist. I tell them the percentages are similar to the human population. The main difference is that no male gorilla, to my knowledge, has ever willingly taken it up the butt. Gorillas in all-male pairings always play the active role in relationships with smaller apes. A gorilla of this disposition lives in our neighbourhood – his name is Passion Fruit and he’s involved with a male chimpanzee. The two are pretty much inseparable, so it was quite a surprise when Passion Fruit turned up unaccompanied to the Annual Simian Convention.
“Hey, Passion Fruit, where’s your bitch?” cried a cheeky monkey from the tree tops.
“How dare you call him a bitch?!” shouted Passion Fruit furiously. “You’d better stay where you are, because if I catch you on the ground I’m going to tie a knot in your tail!”
I later told the monkey that “catamite” was a more polite word than “bitch”, but either word was less prudent than keeping his mouth shut. The monkey who casts aspersions on a gorilla’s private life does so at his own peril.
Baboons are the most homophobic of all the hairy primates – it’s because of the complex they have about their behinds. Heterosexual male baboons are tormented by the fear that people will think their exposed rump is a sign of gayness. That’s why they are so hard on baboons who are genuinely gay, driving them mercilessly into exile. I took pity on one such refugee as he sat forlornly on a tree stump:
“You may stay with my females and groom them until you find a permanent home,” I said.
The baboon accepted my offer with pathetic gratitude. My females were pleased as well – a gay hairdresser is a major status symbol in the jungle.
The biggest gay-bashers in Africa are neither vultures nor baboons, however. That dubious honour belongs to various outspoken clergymen who accuse homosexuals of improbable practices such as eating each other’s poo poo. I remember the embarrassment caused by Bishop Badongo of Burkina Faso when he stayed at the safari guesthouse:
“Who is that poofter?” he asked in a loud voice, pointing at a nattily dressed Austrian man.
“Please sheath your finger and moderate your tone of voice!” I demanded in a firm whisper.
I later told the bishop that we would be forced to ask him to leave if he assailed us with another of his boorish ejaculations.
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