The translation of Zebre into English is zebra. References have been found of its use at the end of the 19th century referring to of a low-life, suspicious person. This seems to be in relation to the striped fur of the animal and the old tradition that related striped clothing with prostitutes, Jews, executioners and adulterers, which we have been able to trace until the century 12, long before the classic prison clothes.
Its relation to homosexuals is nevertheless more recent and has to do with the publication in 1969 of the La Peau des zèbres (the skin of the zebras), work by the writer Jean-Louis Bory, of homosexual subject. We cannot rule out in its popularization the fact that zeb, or zob in Arabic and in French slang of Maghrebi origin, means penis.