Tips for coming out

It’s hard not to share the things you like with the people closest to you. When you watch a particularly good movie or read a great book, that experience is made that much better by talking about it with your friends. When you take a particularly flattering picture of your dinner, most people’s first inclination is to post it on social media and relay it to all of their followers for the engagement endorphins. That’s why for zoos, it can be really tempting to share how they feel about their partners with their friends and family. Unfortunately, with the world like it is today, that can be a risky proposition. There is unfortunately a generally negative views of zoosexuals, with the default state being disapproval. But that doesn’t mean that “coming out” is impossible for us! It just means that there are certain extra steps that we can take to make sure that the person that we’re opening up to doesn’t have a bad reaction. In this article, we’re going to go over some of the steps that you can take to give yourself the best chance of success, but there are never any guarantees. There’s always the risk that the person you “come out” to taking it badly. And so lets start there.

There are a lot of dangers when you tell someone that you’re zoosexual. They may take that information and tell your workplace, who might decide that you shouldn’t work there anymore. They could tell your friends and family, and they could take it much worse hearing it from someone else instead of you. They could dox you on the internet and subject you to harassment. They could even put you or your animal partner at risk if they decide to start filing reports with various government bodies, depending on where you live. When you’re thinking about coming out, you have to think about more than just yourself. If there does end up being legal trouble, it’s also your partner that you’re endangering. But, it can also be really hard keeping your love a secret, and the amazing feeling of being able to openly share your relationship with the humans that are close to you is incredible. So, if you are going to come out, make sure you know who you’re coming out too.

Most people tend to automatically have a somewhat negative view on zoo just based on the way that it’s talked about in society, but there are some people that may have extremely strong reactions. So here’s a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about whether or not to come out to someone. First of all, what’s your relationship to them? Obviously, if it’s someone that you just met then it’s probably not a great idea to bring up. You want to make sure that the person you’re talking to is someone who you have a decent gauge of. Based off of other stances they have on other things you may be able to get some hints on their reactions. For instance, if they’re someone who really supports animal rights causes, that could be good if you approach it from the angle of loving animals. Or, it could be worse if they’ve already made up their mind on animal sexuality. If they’re someone really sex positive, they might already understand a little bit about attraction, and you might be able to present it first like that, as opposed to diving in head first. Ideally, when coming out to someone you know pretty well, even if they do have a bad reaction to you coming out, at the very least they may care about you enough to not spread the information out to others in order to try and hurt you. Speaking of which, another thing to think about is the kind of person that they are. Some people just like to spread rumors more, or talk behind people’s backs. Even if it’s not intentionally, some people just suck at keeping a secret. Here are a few things to ask yourself in this regard. Has the person you’re coming out to told you other people’s secrets before? Are they constantly someone driving the rumor mill? Even if they do end up supporting you afterwards, if they turn around and tell other people about your sexuality, it defeats the purpose as those people are just as liable to take it negatively. There’s a lot of ways you can try to get a sense of how someone is going to feel, but one of the best ways is to ask questions. There are a lot of things you can say before coming out that can help set the framework and let you know what you’re in for.

Before sitting down and having a conversation with someone about zoosexuality, there’s a lot that you can do to see how they feel about adjacent topics, and work your way from there. This does require a little bit of tact, but when done slowly and correctly is a fantastic way of gauging how someone feels before needing to put yourself at too much risk. The downside is that there’s no perfect guide for how this should work. It’s based on the flow of conversation and the person that you’re talking to. It’s also way easier if they’re a furry. While there is a lot of hate towards zoos in the furry fandom, there’s also a lot of cross over subjects. If you’re trying to get a feel for someone’s views and they’re in the fandom, the two easiest ways are by asking about feral art and pokemon. If someone is really into feral, there’s a good chance they’re at least sympathetic to the idea of zoo, although I wouldn’t come out on the spot. You could try asking them about zoo art and seeing how they feel about that, and slowly move from there. On the pokemon side it’s similar. If you ask someone what the sexiest pokemon is and they say one that’s literally just a fantasy cat or dog, that’s a pretty good sign as well. Just because someone isn’t into either of those doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be against zoosexuality, it might just be more of a stretch. Outside the fandom it’s a little bit more complicated. One of the best ways that I’ve found is by making jokes. If relationships come up in conversation and you say “I’m planning on marrying my dog”, that’s technically an implicit statement of zoosexuality, but also easy to play off. If that’s something the person you’re talking to is sensitive about and they have a negative reaction to it, you can say you were telling a joke and it doesn’t arouse too much suspicion. On the other hand, if they’re laughing and really responding to it, that could be a sign that they’re not as opposed to it. If you’re a little bit closer, there are lots of really funny memes that you can send where the punchline is that “My type is dogs” or “Horse girls am I right?”. Once again, if they seem like they’re having positive reactions to that kind of content, it’s a good sign that they’ll have a better reaction to you coming out to them. I’ve even had people start dropping hints to me that they’re also zoo attracted during this process, so pay attention to how the other person is responding. Just remember. This isn’t a perfect metric. Someone could laugh at all the zoo jokes out there and still be disapproving. Nothing is guaranteed, and so much comes down to your intuition. Finally, at some point you will probably have to just come out and say it. Memes can only take you so far. So lets talk about the best ways to make sure that that conversation goes well.

How you approach having your coming out conversation is really important, and there’s a few key things to keep in mind. First of all, make sure that you’re having the conversation in private. If it goes badly, you don’t want a massive blowout in public. A calm, relaxed environment is best. At home is an ideal location, but if that doesn’t work you could also try a walk in a park, or just taking a drive. Now, this is a serious thing you’re bringing up, but it’s important to remember that it’s not bad news, it’s good. You’ve found a new piece of yourself and you want to share it with someone. Don’t make it seem worse than it, don’t tease it or act like you’re scared. Try to be confident, and positive. They’re going to take a lot from your presentation. If you tell them like it’s some sort of scandal, they’ll see it like a scandal. If you sound like you’re doing something wrong, they’ll see it as more wrong. But if you sound like you’re someone in love, who knows what they want, then they’ll feel more reassured already. Once again, there’s no perfect script for how to do this, but try to just be up front and direct. At this point, there’s no beating around the bush. It’s up to you whether or not you want your partner to be there for the conversation. I’d recommend probably not, although doing a meet and greet after if it goes well could be really great. Even if they know your partner already, the person you’ve just come out to is going to see them differently, and may have unconscious biases about what your relationship looks like. Showing them how much affection you have for your partner, and how much affection that they have for you, could be really beneficial when it comes to helping to alleviate said biases.

And if you thought your work was over after actually having this conversation, you aren’t getting off that easy. While it is important to give the person that you came out to time to process, you also want to check in and make sure that you’re available for if they have any questions or concerns. It’s fairly common for people to do some research after the fact, and depending on what they find they might have a worse reaction the next time you talk. If they’re comfortable with it, you could offer to send them some zoo media such as a ZooTT episode or an article from us. You could introduce them to some of your zoo friends to show that zoos are just normal people. But the most important thing is to show them that you’re still the same person that you were before. You haven’t changed at all, you’ve just shown them a new side of you. If they can see you and your partner interacting in positive ways that’s great too! It’s hard to think of you as an abuser if your partner is clearly always excited to be around you. Let them take things at their own pace, but always be ready to talk. More than likely this is going to be a process for them, and that’s normal.

I really hope that this goes well for you if you do decide to take this step, but it’s impossible to deny that for a lot of people coming out has not been great. Right now, it’s hard to be a zoo. Having to keep such an important part of your life private can be really tough. But, things are headed in the right direction. For a long time people were having this exact same conversation with the exact same fears when it came to coming out as gay. And while the world hasn’t fully accepted that yet, it’s sure a lot easier than it was fifty years ago. And the trans movement is going through something similar right now too. While trans folks still definitely face discrimination, society is becoming more and more accepting. Zoosexuality is on the same trajectory. It sucks that we’re living in the time where we have to fight for our acceptance, but it’s in our hands now to carry that torch and lead the charge for acceptance in the future. So that in another fifty years someone can tell their parents, their friends, or their partner that they’re in love with a four legged person, and they don’t have to be so worried.

And for now, just remember. No matter what anyone says, the love that you feel is healthy and valid. Your relationship with your partner isn’t anyone else’s business. If you’re not ready to come out, that’s okay. If you and your partner are happy, that’s all that matters.

Written by Tarro (August 2022)

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