What a time to be a zoosexual! We’ve got a nice selection of open chatrooms and platforms to flaunt our animal affinity in, we’ve got music, we’ve got podcasts, we’ve even got a whole bunch of sex-positive zooey stickers that have been slapped onto unknown numbers of street poles near furry conventions and any reachable surfaces in public washrooms. Personally, I’ve been attracted to animals for quite a long time now, dogs were my first partners and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In my own goings-on behind closed doors, I’ve certainly always felt wonderfully zooey things–I’ve felt lost in pleasure at swapping spit with a Rottweiler (of which he had plenty), and lost in love while snuggling a Dane and burying my nose in his fur as we relax for a nap. But this last year has been, for me, something new: a public outpouring of people proudly proclaiming their love of animals. A palpable sense of zoo pride in the world around me. Depending on how old you are, where you grew up, or what parts of the internet you’ve frequented, maybe this level of assertive zoo pride is something a little bit new to you too, or maybe you’ve already been seeing it for a few years now, or maybe it’s something you once saw a long time ago that’s finally coming back. But one way or another, right here and right now, zoo pride is so in.
It’s really great to see. And there are a lot of pride-related things that have been said in recent years in the zoosexual community that have stuck with me. Little slogans or mantras that I can hold, turn over in my hands again and again, and feel the pride that comes with being part of a righteous movement, well-bolstered by allies who have my back as I unashamedly proclaim my love of four-leggers. By way of some of these mantras, I want to name some of the things that make me proud to have lived a life where animals have been my closest romantic partners.
“Be nice to each other. It’s the sexiest, zooiest thing you can do.”
What an astoundingly caring set of beliefs we live with. In the lives of so many humans, the pets are only footnotes. To us they are our equal, our better, our aspirations, our commitment. I’m proud to have given the animals in my care a better life than they might have had under the care of someone who just wants a ferret “because it looks cool” and does the bare minimum to keep the animal alive. Any nonhumans under my care are getting food that’s not just “enough” but is delightful to their nonhuman taste buds. Clean and comfy environments. Lots of activity, if they’re the sort that likes to romp around and play little games. It is indeed very zooey how many times in a day I will drop everything I’m doing because a dog comes and says she wants to show me something (usually that “something” is the back yard, again, and a tennis ball…)
I have seen this kindness extend to caring for fellow humans too. Day-to-day it’s a very light type of kindness, having pleasant conversations, giggling at memes together, making little zooey in-jokes. But that can also extend into deep emotional support when someone is in a tough spot. Or material real-world support at times too. I would even say there’s a sort of kindness on a professional level, helping one another with technical aspects of projects like the writing, voice acting, web hosting–whatever it is, there’s a very strong drive within the community to lend one’s abilities to a zooey cause. For an orientation so centered around deep empathy, it’s good to see that we do indeed help one another.
“Dogs make better lovers.”
If someone was setting me up on a date, and they could offer a supermodel human or a slobbery Newfie, you can bet that me and an enormous dog are going out for some ice cream and a walk in the park. That’s not to say humans are bad, it’s just to say that personally, oh my gosh do I think dogs are better dating material. If I could go back in time and make myself only attracted to humans, I would not be doing that: dogs freaking rule. A good dog is a joy to spend an evening hanging out with. When it comes to physical activities like petting and kissing, I wholeheartedly love the wavelength that dogs are on for those things, the enthusiasm, the playfulness, the dialogue of dog sounds and movements. I love the way they look, sound, smell, taste, and feel.
Plus, as zoos, we’re of course not limited to just dogs! Have you seen horses? So tall, so muscular, so fast, such nice hair, such caring members of the family. Heck, cows pigs sheep and goats are all pretty dang hot too, to be honest. If variety is the spice of life, zoos sure do live our lives spicy. And it’s fun talking candidly about that, with zoo friends and non-zoo friends alike.
“You’re different. And that’s not only okay, it’s important.”
As zoos, we bring a very important perspective to the world. We speak for the trees, as it were: We are strong advocates for the nonverbal life on the planet. The rate of veganism is much higher among my zoo friends than among my non-zoo friends, and that’s something I take pride in us on. The ability to open an empathetic dialogue with animals gives zoos an aptitude for working with animals in a caretaking capacity, and that’s something I have pride about too.
And of course, even among ourselves, it’s not like there is “the one zooey perspective” on any given matter: just bring up something like the ZETA principles in a group chat of 5 zoos, and you’ll get 8 perspectives on whether the principles are worded well and how they could be improved. You may get differing advice on how it’s best to raise a dog. You may get differing philosophies on spaying and neutering. But these differences in perspective are also a healthy part of having a community that wisdom can be gleaned from: the world is complicated, and sometimes it helps to see things from more than one side to get to a more reasonable, nuanced, full understanding of things.
Some of us are even lucky enough to have our opinion as a zoo sought out by others. I’ve had people ask me candidly about veganism, because they were considering it and wanted to know more. I’ve had people come to me trying to come to grips with their own queer identity that wasn’t even zoo-related, but they figured as someone so open and true about her own orientation, I would be a good person to soundboard ideas against. I’m really tickled by the idea of a world where the “gay best friend” stereotype that we used to see in TV shows could be the zooey best friend, just a stoned out dude with a beard getting kissed on by a dog half the time but sometimes leaning away from the dog kisses long enough to give the other characters some sage down to earth advice; it might sound silly but to be honest I think we already live in a world where that kind of character would be possible to see on a mainstream TV show.
“Stay defiant fellow zoos.”
If you’re a zoo reading this, you’re a survivor of oppression, and that makes you tough as hell. Sometimes the simple and caring act of helping our partner get their rocks off for their pleasure is made a crime. Sometimes we face discrimination because of the fact that our partners simply don’t get the rights or the respect that humans are given: I can’t count the number of social functions or travel opportunities I’ve passed on because of an offhanded “no dogs allowed :)” rule. Sometimes we can’t be as open as others are about how happy our partners make us, such as when chatting around the water cooler about what we all did over the weekend: “Went on a hike with my husband” could line you up for follow-up questions that could get you in hot water professionally. That silence sounds small, but it can do a lot to make us feel removed from what the rest of the cool kids are allowed to talk about.
But the fact that we can get through all of it shows how battle hardened we are. And there can be a little bit of a mischievous glee in staying defiant in the face of hate.
“Being a zoo is so fucking cool”
Yo, how cool is our pride flag? How cool is the zeta symbol? Huskies are like, the coolest creature in existence, and the fact that they might deign to kiss us is something to feel so blessed about. How would we not feel pride at getting to share a meaningful walk through the woods with a creature as dignified and cool as an equine?
It’s also pretty cool that right now, we get to be part of a community that is actively in bloom. It’s a little fist-pump moment every time a rad new zooey project launches, every time a new zooey voice comes on to the scene, every time we see positive representation of zooey issues from impartial outsiders.
Being zoosexual has always been core to who I am. And I’m so happy to see that right now, the world has a place for zoo pride.
Also! Hey! A big and heartfelt thank you to the people who introduced these sayings into my life. Whether these have origins further back than I know, is not something that I can know. But I do know that I first heard many of the sayings in here from the crew of Zooier Than Thou, in particular, Toggle, Fausty, and Steeeeeeeeeve. Also thanks to Milk and Aki. Links below if you want to see all of their work!
Article written by Alissa Dogchurch (June 2023)
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