Sunday, 28 November 2010

Gay vultures of the world unite

For years now, scientists have been pointing out the incidences of homosexuality in the animal kingdom to support that argument that same-sex attraction is a case of nature over nurture. Indeed, there are so many animals turning to the love that dare not woof, squawk or whinny its name, that Noah's Arc could have been converted into a Mardi Gras float.

Unfortunately for our furry and feathered friends, life outside of the closet comes at a cost. Because even gay animals can be victimised and bullied.

Take Guido and Detlef for instance. They're a handsome pair of Griffon vultures who found each other's raw animal magnetism too strong to resist. So they shacked up together in a makeshift nest in Munster Zoo.

Interestingly, the birds are described as 'predatory males' and spend their days "grooming one another... and fortifying their nest". Which suggests that it's not just the sexual activity that these birds have in common with their human counterparts.

However, those pesky conservationists were concerned that the birds were so busy gentrifying the aviary that they were unlikely to help grow their species number. And I guess gay adoption would be out of the question for them.

Sadly, Guido was snatched from his paramore and dispatched 400 miles east to a zoo in the Czech Republic, leaving Detlef to mooch about the cage and listen to Celine Dion CDs. The zookeepers have replaced Guido with a potential female mate, but she's destined to a life of loneliness, as the world's first vulture faghag.

Like most ex-gays, Detlef is "reorienting himself", but has yet to touch his new life partner. Presumably, she's wondering what's wrong with her, and he's thinking she needs a makeover.

Gay rights campaigners aren't happy either, arguing that "This is like in the dark middle ages, forcibly making a creature sexually re-orient itself by tearing its partner from its side." They're scared that once this precedent has been set, we might one day see the same thing happen to gay people as well.

Admittedly that's a preposterous assumption. Or is it? Earlier this year an elderly couple hit the headlines when Sonoma County authorities separated them and placed them in different nursing homes, denying them to chance to live out their remaining months together, despite a twenty-year relationship.

It remains to be seen whether or not Guido and Detlef's story will have a happier ending. This vulture certainly hopes so.

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