On Preserving our History

I don’t know about you, but I love to see artifacts from zoo history. I was delighted one time I was shown a page from a zine, and on that page were summaries of a bunch of other zines that were all about zoophilia, along with addresses that you could mail a few bucks to to get sent those zines back. I think it’s really fascinating to stumble across bestiality in old books, and if I get even a whiff that some publication explicitly mentioned bestiality once, I have been known to pour over hundreds of pages from that same publication to see if there’s more. Old website archives are great relics of our past, it’s so neat to look over someone’s handmade pages where they talk about what zoophilia is to them, what bestiality escapades they claim to have had, what their experiences are with coming out to others or with meeting fellow zoos.
Archived zooey media is something that I am always seeking. I can never get enough of it. I think it provides a lot of context to where we are now. It provides perspectives that might be interestingly different and worthwhile to weigh. And, importantly, I think it’s very normalizing to know we’ve always been here, and that the taboos seem to have not always been the same.
Let’s imagine some things that might be out there, that could be archived, that I want us to be able to look at.
Here’s a hypothetical piece of zooey media that I want to see: irc archives. Basically, chat logs from a kind of chat room that used to be super popular on the internet of the 90s and 2000s. I have a friend who has archived decades of the irc rooms that she’s in. She’s not a zoosexual, at least as far as I’m aware, but let’s say that for some reason, she was able to give me the entire rise and fall of some private zoo room that was active in the early 2000s, let’s call it #bestialityisgood. I would read *years* of that log, books’ worth, it would be so interesting to see what kinds of things zoo folks were talking about back then, what kinds of characters occupied these rooms, what their views were on the kinds of issues that the community faces today.
But… should I be allowed to see that archive?
It probably contains a lot of personal information, and there could be a lot of things in there that the members who are still kicking wouldn’t want to resurface. Maybe there's information in there that could land someone in legal trouble, or professional trouble, or just be really embarrassing.
This is one of the big difficulties of preserving our history as zoosexuals. Many members of the community tend to be pretty private about their identities, except to those who they trust. For many of us, the things we’d say to a stranger on the street are not the same things we’d say in a group chat with fellow zoo friends. The things we’d say to our zoo friends are the things I’m much more interested in archiving, but it would be pretty fucked up of me to publish one of my group chats into a book without getting everyone’s permission first. Years of logs of a private zooey irc room would be interesting, but the odds of getting the permission of the 80 members who came and went in that time, 20 years ago? I doubt you could get in contact with even half of them, and the ones you did likely won’t all say yes.
Maybe there’s some kind of anonymization that could work. Changing everyone’s nicknames and geographical surroundings that they talk about. It still seems dicey, someone could still piece together some of the who’s who based on outside knowledge—maybe I remember one time when someone on Zooier Than Thou told a story about meeting some other zoos at some party that had a few odd things happen, and then some people in the chat logs are talking about those same things, and I can start to reconstruct which of these anonymized names are actually these other names.
So, maybe years of irc logs are too invasive, too private, and we should leave that alone (or DM it to me privately I’ll be responsible with it, pinky promise :3)
Let’s try something smaller. For another piece of zooey archived media that I want, let’s imagine a more tight-knit, self-contained group of zoo friends. For this hypothetical, let’s imagine a group of five zoos who all live in Chicago in the 90s. They are the best of friends, meeting up all the time, often some of them will be roommates with one another, regularly crashing on each other’s couches for a night, these are all best friends for life.
A couple of them like drawing, and are constantly doing zooey doodles that they pass around to one another. One of them fancies himself a novelist and is writing zooey stories all the time, photocopying them and handing them to the others, he has notebooks and notebooks of this stuff that he hasn’t gotten around to photocopying too. The other two “aren’t artists” but they are hilarious to have a conversation with, maybe over some drinks, and things that they’ve said have totally ended up in the doodles and the stories like, all the time. They play D&D each week on Tuesdays, and on Sundays they go to open mic nights and perform zooey skits for total strangers, who are usually rolling laughing, willing to accept zooiness as a comedy premise regardless of what their day-to-day thoughts might be.
This group is, to be clear, totally hypothetical. I don’t know of any such zoo group in Chicago. But I *am* basing it off of a number of anecdotes I’ve heard of zoo groups over the years, zoos who will meet up all the time and exchange little creations, zoos who have lifelong deep bonds with one another.
In this hypothetical, I want as many of the stories from those times as those five friends are willing to tell me. The sky is the limit here. I want hours, days of podcast-style recordings where the friends shoot the shit about back then: “Haha oh my god, do you remember…” I want to see uploads of those doodles, I want to read the stories in those notebooks. I want the scripts for the skits they did, and the anecdotes of how the skits went when they did them live. I want the chronicle of their D&D campaign.
From an ethical standpoint, this archive sounds much more achievable. We only need the permission of five people, whose identities we actually know, and all of whom we can actually contact. Let’s say that all five of them are completely unopposed to this archival effort.
Now, though, we have one more hurdle to get over before it happens. And unfortunately, it’s one that I’ve seen be the hangup that stops a lot of zooey history from being immortalized.
The second hurdle, after privacy, is this: disinterest.
If only five people were at the table for this zooey D&D campaign, and none of them want to sit down day after day and write about it because they have more fun things to do with their time, then that chronicle isn’t getting written. I love the times we break through the disinterest barrier: that Calzoo Interview episode of Zooier Than Thou was such a treat, to get to hear in more depth what these famous zooey meetups were like. Some members of the community are rich with stories and generous about telling them. But, there’s a lot that we’re going to lose, too, eventually: there have been a number of times—a high number of times—when Tarro has asked someone to write about something that happened in decades past, to immortalize it and share it with others, and they say, “Oh sure that sounds like a good idea, maybe I’ll do that,” and then they never do.
It is also probably worth noting that many pieces of our history will be preserved whether we hoped for them to be or not. Those early-internet zooey websites that I love to look at on the Wayback Machine are very cool and I’m glad to be able to see them, but, those archives probably just happened automatically, rather than the zoo site owner requesting it at any point. There are probably crawler bots all over Twitter, Discord, you name it, that are archiving everything that’s said publicly, including our zoo discourse. Someone in a group chat may get hacked, or an untrustworthy member leaks everything deliberately, and now those chat logs are out there posted to some Dropbox for anyone to look at if they want to.
So, here’s what I think is a good idea: I hope that we have good historians. I hope that we have people alive, today, who are not too far removed from the important context of our history, and have the wise intuitions and curious minds to be able to archive all of it with integrity and interest.
I hope that we have people who can show us what the real important takeaways were, and what was just kind of some dramatic noise.
I hope that we have people who can highlight and impress upon the importance of all of the textures and focal points of zoo life: not just what happened on Twitter some day, but also the hours we spent taking care of our animal partners, attending to their needs, snuggling with them, thinking about them. There are many dimensions to our experiences, and it could be important to not over simplify. To highlight the daily Ws and the little moments that come with being a zoo, in addition to whatever some big zoo name said on some date.
Because, a lot of people may be interested in us. Maybe that’s fellow zoos right now. Maybe that’s a zoo 30 years from now who wants to know what being a zoo was like in the wild times of the 2020s. Maybe that’s a lawmaker who curses to themself every time zoos look like actual people. Maybe that’s someone in academia doing preliminary research for a study on zoos. Maybe that’s someone whose friend just came out to them as a zoo, and they’re on the fence about the topic and want to know more. Maybe it’s just someone who was curious for no particular reason one day and did a Google search.
But, whoever it is who's trying to venture into the newly constructed zooey wing of the library, I hope that their librarian with zetas scribbled all over their nametag seems to know what they're talking about, and makes a good impression.
And if you and your besties made a bunch of zooey doodles and stories and skits, seriously start a podcast, send me the link.
Article written by Alissa Dogchurch (May 2024)
Questions, comments or concerns? Check out our Discord server! 

Related posts

A History of Zeta Verein 

The Zeta Verein: a German Success Story of a Zoophile Organization Hidden in closed off forums, there are many zoos…