Hello and welcome to 2023! I’ve always loved the new year. It’s a time for shaking off the ails of the year before and stepping into something new. It’s a great time to try new things, or drop old bad habits. It’s also an awesome time for reflection, since it’s a clear transition into a new point in time. So, on this first day of this new year, I thought it might be interesting to look back at all the things that happened in the zoo community this year, good and bad. This will by no means be an exhaustive list, instead it’ll just be the things that stood out the most to me. If you have other zooey things that happened this year that stood out to you, feel free to leave a comment on Twitter or ZooCommunity or somewhere or something. You know how to engage with things!
January saw the publication of the book “Finding Normal: Sex, Love, and Taboo in our Hyperconnected World.” That book featured a section on the author Alexa Tsoulis-Reay’s conversations with a man who was in a relationship with a horse. It was, frankly, a really respectful interview. It didn’t play off a zoo relationship for shock value, or try to frame it in some kind of negative light. Overall, it was great to read. A few months later, the author ended up writing a follow up article for “The Cut,” talking about the experience, and I think that that article is almost more interesting than the section in the book. She talks about how the reception of writing about zoosexuality has been, and the kinds of experiences that even broaching the topic has brought. If you haven’t read both the excerpt from the book as well as the follow up article, I highly recommend that you check them both out.
Speaking of books, the novel “Saint Zoo” by Chihiro Hamano was officially translated into German this year. The novel, currently in Japanese and German, describes the author’s exploration into zoosexuality, and what exactly this whole zoo thing is. Considering the majority of the book takes place in Germany, it makes sense that it’s the language that ended up coming next. If you can read Japanese or German, it’s definitely worth looking into. If not, maybe 2023 will be your year!
Moving on from books, there was also a pretty great paper published this year called “Measurement and Correlates of Zoophilic Interest in an Online Community Sample.” It took a bunch of data from a few different sources across the web, and used it to try and classify exactly how to even define what being a zoo is. The paper looked at the differences between zoos and furries, and also created a structured tiered list to try and help academia understand the different kinds of zoos out there. The author of the paper, Dr. Zidenburg, was also super communicative with the zoo community at large, replying to people’s questions on Twitter and even doing an interview with us here at the magazine!
Speaking of the magazine, hey we exist! We started up this year! Our first article was published in June of 2022. Since then, we’ve done interviews, articles, and have featured a lot of really awesome special guests. We’re basically a content machine at this point! That said, it feels weird talking about ourselves in this weird pseudo-second person perspective so let’s move on to another awesome project that was launched this year.
If you haven’t been listening to the Zoo And Me podcast, hosted by Brass Bulldog and Akito, you are really missing out on some serious people talking to each other! The podcast is the hosts just shooting the shit about whatever’s on their minds, and sometimes features awesome guests like ChampionWhoops, Mike the Dog the Dog, and others! I think the best part about the podcast is that due to its weekly unscripted nature, you get a lot of conversations that aren’t necessarily about zoosexuality, and it can really help to show that as zoos, we’re also just people. We have hobbies and play games and hang out with friends. As a zoo myself, it’s cool to be able to feel like I’m just hanging out in a room talking about the latest pop culture with some other zoo friends, and that’s the appeal of the Z&M podcast. You should definitely give it a listen!
Another amazing zoo podcast, Zooier Than Thou, announced that it would be taking its first break after 4 years straight of running. Honestly, the big amazing story here is that Toggle, the rat behind the show, actually was willing to give himself a much needed vacation, considering every episode of that show takes approximately a million years to put together. For fans though, don’t worry. Apparently there will be a few months of mini-episodes, which will be short bite sized pieces, before things get rolling again some time into the new year.
One last thing that I wanted to cover isn’t exactly an “event” that happened in 2022, so much as it’s a very cool trend to track. And that’s just how much the community is growing in general! At the beginning of 2021, it was rare to see a non-porn zoo account on Twitter have over 2000 followers. But now, there’s quite a few accounts over 2000, and there are even some that are pushing 5k! And for porn accounts that specifically focus on “zoo adjacent” content, those are even bigger. The important take away from this is that there are more zoos than ever finding out about themselves, and reaching out to our spaces in order to make friends and learn more. Out of everything, this is probably the most important thing because it means that we’re growing our supporter base, and gaining allies that will be invaluable when it comes to the advancement of our causes.
All in all, when it comes to 2022, I’d say it was a pretty good year. No, we didn’t make anything crazy happen, but it showed that we’re still trending in the right direction. Social movements always take time. What’s important to remember is that we’re still working towards our goals. I’m no clairvoyant, but I really do think that 2023 is going to be a good year too. It feels like we’re close to a big threshold of growth, and once things start to move they move fast. It won’t be that long before we start having more important conversations in more important places. But all of that only happens so long as we all keep trying to fight for the things we believe in, and the people that we love.
Looking back at 2022, I’m going to remember it like a step in a ladder. It might just be a part of the journey, but without it we wouldn’t be able to climb up to the next rung. And that’s good enough for me. I hope to see all of you again in 2023. Thanks for everything, dear readers! We’ll be back to our regular scheduled twice a week content next week, so see you soon!
By the way, if you have your own important zoo moments of 2022, we’d love to hear them! Send us a tweet or something! We might even update this article if we clearly missed something important!
Article written by Tarro (January 2023)
Find them at https://twitter.com/hereforthezoo
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