Whether it’s male bears giving each other fellatio or two male penguins raising a baby, nature shows us that the mating habits and sex lives of animals aren’t always limited to heterosexual reproductive purposes. One could easily expand that observation to include cryptozoological creatures and other fantastical beasts. And while these may be anomalous versions of already anomalous entities not yet accepted or proven by science, there are occasional queer glimpses into cryptid cases.
In his 2003 book Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America (Part III, Chapter 13: ‘Sex and the Single Sasquatch’), cryptozoologist Loren Coleman states:
“Frankly, the subject of sex and the Sasquatch is avoided. Never mentioned are Bigfoot bestiality, Sasquatch penises, and that more human males than human females have traditionally been kidnapped by Bigfoot.”
That same year, Coleman was interviewed for a very brief article, innocently enough titled ‘Iraq: Ancient Home of Bigfoot,’ his key points being:
“Coleman says the legend of Bigfoot dates back 5000 years to ancient Mesopotamia — now modern Iraq — and a hairy creature named “Enkidu”… [who] plays a major role in the Epic of King Gilgamesh, and Coleman claims Gilgamesh and Enkidu engaged in a lot of cross-species gay sex, with an occasional threesome… Coleman figures ancient cultures used myths to explain factual events, which means that Iraq could be chock full of artifacts proving the existence of Bigfoot’s gay past.”
Enkidu was said to be a “wild man” (possibly a feral human, Bigfoot, or even a werewolf), raised by animals absent of human civilization. In her book When Heroes Love: The Ambiguity of Eros in the Stories of Gilgamesh and David, Susan Ackerman points out the sexual—and yes, even homoerotic—language in the text, but sees this as an ancient concept of gender roles rather than the contemporary view of same-sex relationships. But often, folklore and stories are based on at least a faint kernel of truth. Could there be a bisexual or homosexual “wild man” deep in Sumeria’s past which inspired the stories?
Just two years earlier, Coleman had ignited a bit of controversy during the 13th Annual Bigfoot Conference / Bigfoot EXPO 2001 in Newcomerstown, Ohio, when he lightheartedly mused that perhaps “10 percent of the Bigfoot population, matching the figures we have for Homo sapiens, might be gay.” That one statement was blasted out of proportion by media outlets with claims that Coleman stated emphatically: “Bigfoot is gay.”
Of course, many people have turned the exaggerated misquote into a point of heckling. Soon after his appearance, he received angry mail from outraged readers (even though many hadn’t even been there to hear exactly what was said). Some people started calling him “a homo“, “gay“, and that perennial favorite: “fag“.
Popobawa: Zanzibari Djinn or Beastly Rapist?
Beginning in the 1960s and continuing to this very day, tales of nocturnal encounters with a large, human-bat hybrid-like being dubbed “popobawa” (“bat wing” in Swahili) have occasionally emerged from Tanzania’s coastal region of Zanzibar. And while some may be familiar with the hunt for it on Destination Truth, host Josh Gates omitted some rather salacious details commonly found in the local reports: not only is the creature often described as having an enormous phallus, it’s often said to prey on Muslim men, raping them in their beds and requiring its victims to tell ten other people about its emasculating visit.
While Gates and others have considered popobawa as a tangible cryptid, there’s an alternative Zanzibari belief that it is actually a djinn created by a sorcerer to target his enemy which somehow managed to escape and wreak havoc on the archipelago. Other scholars believe it to be a bogeyman created for nefarious political purposes.