It comes after Kew Gardens launched its Queer Nature After Hours event, which promised an evening of music, cabaret and access to its Queer Nature exhibition. The exhibition of plants and fungi aims to raise awareness of natural organisms “that challenge traditional expectations”.
Morgan, however, was unsurprisingly far from pleased. Talking about the event on Sky News Australia, Morgan said: “Why are we having some queer celebration of things like mushrooms?”
Joining him on the show was comedian James Barr as well as Right-wing presenter Tomi Lahren.
Barr quickly pointed out that “mushrooms, scientifically, have about 23,000 different genders and that’s where this exhibit is coming from”.
Morgan didn’t seem convinced by the statistics, even when Barr encouraged him to ask a scientist about it. “This is called a mushroom and that’s it,” Morgan jibed, apparently unconvinced that there’s any complex science behind the makeup of fungi.
The former GMB presenter then added: “We’ve just had Pride month, where the entire month was taken up with turning everything LGBTQ … Why can’t we just have straight plants?”
Contrary to Morgan’s thoughts, the plant kingdom is incredibly complex. In fact, the majority of plants have both male and female structures and are considered hermaphroditic, or bisexual. Britannica notes that many popular flowers such as roses, lilies and tulips are considered bisexual.
“I just don’t understand why you care,” Barr then added, before suggesting that Morgan may be frustrated that he’d just lost out on a National Television Award to a gay presenter.
Lahren later jumped in: “what concerns me is if there are 23,000 genders for mushrooms and fungus I’m a little concerned, because the LGBTQ+ barbecue is already too long for most Americans and most people to memorise, so now we have 23,000 genders added to that.”
A spokesperson for Kew Gardens told the Evening Standard: “Plants and flowers have often been associated with queer identities, both positively and negatively, and this will be explored in the Queer Nature festival by amplifying queer voices through art. This celebratory and varied programme will feature art installations, horticulture, performance and events, as well as weekend programming and after-hours events.”
Setting the record straight, the representative also explained: “In some species, there are no separate female and male plants (they are hermaphroditic) so the male/female binary system does not apply at the level of individuals. In some such plants, flowers can start off by being male and later the female parts become active (and vice versa).
“Some plants are even more complex, with functionally male, functionally female and hermaphroditic flowers all on the same individual. In fungi even the basic system is anything but binary, with fungi having as many as 36,000 different mating types.”
You can find out more about Kew Garden’s Queer Nature events at kew.org.