Zoo Pride 2023 Day 1

Hey! It's Tarro, your friendly neighborhood raccoon, here to introduce a project that Vex will be doing with the magazine for Zoo Pride Week! We'll get to the details in a bit, it's really cool, but related to Zoo Pride Week, let me start by saying that I'm glad that I'm a zoo. Really, I am! If I had the ability to just totally turn off my animal attracted-ness, there's no way that I would ever do it. To me, it's such an important part of who I am. If I wasn't a zoo, would I still have the same relationship to the world around me as I do? So much of what I think of as my "self" comes from being zoosexual. This attraction, and thinking about what it means over the years, has given me a profound empathy that I use to treat my fellow humans, animals, and the planet with kindness. And I'm very happy with those parts of me. Through my zoosexuality I've had amazing relationships, and made great friends, both human and animal alike! And if that wasn't enough, it's even currently enabling me to live a life that I can honestly say that I'm proud of. 
And that's what pride is really all about. I'm proud to be zoosexual. I'm proud to be a part of this amazing community with all the other animal attracted people. I'm proud of the relationship that me and my canine partner have. When we walk down the street together and people call him handsome and ask if they can pet him and he wags his tail and they smile and go "awww," I'm proud. Not for myself, but for him. When we're in bed late at night snuggling and I know that he could be more comfortable laying at the foot of the bed by himself, and he knows that I could be more comfortable if I wasn't craning my arm at a horrible angle to make sure that I can still give him pets, I'm proud of the love that we share for one another. 
When we're proud, we don't care what other people think. We have confidence in our own beliefs, and are willing to stand up for others in our community who may have not found the same level of self-acceptance in themselves. And it's not just good for you, it's good for the community as a whole! Pride is infectious. When we see people taking pride in something that we feel ashamed of, it gives us a desire and a hope that one day we too might be able to feel the same way. A community filled with pride is one where people are willing to take a cheeky risk to join in the celebration!
So to celebrate Zoo Pride Week, we here at Zooey Dot Pub thought it might be valuable to hear a few messages about what pride means to a bunch of different zoos! So three times this week (counting today) we'll be putting out quotes from zoos all around the world talking about pride and what it means to them! So if you're someone reading this who's unsure about themselves, I hope if nothing else this gives you the confidence to start taking just a little bit of pride in your own zooeyness!
To lead us into that, here's our resident kool kanine, Vex!
Hey, friends! It’s Vex again, and I’m here with some pretty wonderful messages of pride that I've collected from quite a few wonderful, more closeted zoos! These are all from DMs that I received about zoo pride: some reached out because they saw my Twitter post asking if anyone had anything to say, some saw me asking around in zooey Discord channels, and others heard about the project through word of mouth. Each of these collections of quotes won't be as long as a full article, but we still wanted to break things up a bit so it wasn't 100 pages long, and so we could keep the pride vibes going!
For each day, we'll be tackling a different theme. I’ll first be showcasing messages on pride for not just accepting that we fit the dictionary definition of "zoosexuality," but taking it a step further and feeling love for that part of ourselves and others!
With all that out of the way, let’s get started with our quotes:
“Don't be afraid to be who you are! You are valid, you are loved and you have a place. I'm so happy I decided to look deeper into these feelings I denied for so long.” - Anonymous Zoo
“I'd probably just say don't allow the beliefs of bigots to cause you to alienate yourself. The vast majority of zoos are doing absolutely no harm to anybody, so don't let people convince you that your actions are causing any damage because that only does harm to yourself through trying to shut off who you are. Nobody should feel guilty because of who they love” - Aimee
“What I have to say, for those out there. Take your time, even if you're ever getting [antsy] and wanting to dive in, reel yourself in and sit on those thoughts, really let them brew and mature. To let yourself walk into this sea of amazing people, and to be able to swim with everyone you meet along the way, and to give others the courage and comfort to step in too. It can be exciting and definitely nerve inducing but these kinds of feelings come with many different situations and scenarios. It's taken me some time sure, but, it's not impossible to step in and thrive. To those watching from the outside, we'll be here, and we'll be ready to welcome you in! Stay confident, stay strong, stay safe, and stay defiant ^v^ But most importantly, have fun out there 🤍” - Anonymous Zoo
“Continue to learn and explore yourself. There is no larger peace in life than self knowledge and comfort in who you are.” - Anonymous Zoo
“I was born this way. No specific experience has made me attracted to animals, since I can remember it's been there, and no amount of ignoring it, refusing urges, or shaming myself has made me able to rid that from myself, and that will never change. And that does not make me or any other zoo any [less] of a human being, I and every zoo and every animal deserves love.” - PersimmonSFW
And to end today's pride messages, I would like to put my own forth!
For me, zoo pride isn’t just about being able to say I am attracted to animals. It isn’t solely wanting a world where sex with animals is legal. Zoo pride is important to me because it lets me be truly happy and prideful in who I am in more than just a passive way. I can actively celebrate my love, my partner, my community, something that is vastly undervalued until you experience it. If you’re closeted, more of a lurker, or just haven’t decided to interact with the community yet, please do. It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I am infinitely happier for finding others to celebrate who I am with. You’re never alone without us, because we will always be here for you, waiting until the day you feel comfortable to engage and explore or accept your zoosexuality.
And you are incredibly loved. I should know, I’m one of the many who loves and cares for you. You’re important.
With that said, I hope you enjoyed these short messages. There's going to be another on Tuesday, and a Final one on Thursday. Have a great Zoo Pride Week! See you there! 
Article written by Tarro and Vex (July 2023)
Questions, comments or concerns? Check out our Discord server at https://discord.gg/zooeydotpub

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