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PETS

Dogs | Cats | Animals

 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Australian Firefighters and Their Pets
Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

 

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Dolphins Have Lots of Lesbian Sex Due to Evolved Clitorises

Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Two Male Penguins Welcome Hatchling as New York Zoo's 1st Same-Sex Foster Parents
Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly


 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets
 

Seven out of 10 LGBTQ adults own pets, compared with 63% of heterosexual adults, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive. The same poll shows that 90% of gay pet owners say their pet is a member of their family, and two thirds have bought their pets presents for the holidays, according to a press release. The 2007 poll, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs, surveyed 2,455 US adults, of whom 158 identified as LGBTQ.

 



“Americans have well-deserved reputations as animal lovers and pet owners, and our latest findings underscore that LGBTQ
Americans are among the most avid,” Wesley Combs, president of Witeck-Combs Communications Inc., said in the statement. “Moreover, the holiday season reminds us of those closest to us, including our devotion to our pets. Smart marketers will recognize
that gay households truly are trendsetters in animal ownership and loving care.”

The poll shows that LGBTQ pet owners are slightly more likely than heterosexual pet owners to have cats: 63% of LGBTQ respondents owned a cat, compared with 52% of heterosexuals. However, the inverse was found with dogs: 71% of straight pet owners said they owned a dog, compared with 63% of LGBTQ pet owners.

 

[Source: Advocate Magazine, Witeck-Combs, 2007]

 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Can Cats be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual?
Gay Couple and Their Dog

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Sexy Australian Firefighters and Their Pets
Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Queer Animals Are Everywhere
Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

LGBTQ Pet Owners


Over 70% of LGBTQ adults have pets, compared to 60% of straight adults. If you’re a pet owner yourself, you probably already know that the LGBTQ community is extremely pet-friendly: according to a recent poll, over seventy percent of LGBTQ adults are pet owners, compared with only sixty percent of straight adults. For many of these LGBTQ “pet parents”, cats and dogs rescued from animal shelters can make the best pets, providing a loving companion while supporting local animal rescue and giving pets a forever home.

 

 

The number of LGBTQ pet owners is continuing to grow, and as the problems with breeders and pet stores keep surfacing, we’re sure to see even more members of the community turn toward adoption and rescue. If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your life, skip the pet store and head straight to your local animal shelter to take home some of the best pets: they’ll reward you with a lifetime of love and companionship.

Visiting a shelter for the first time, many LGBTQ pet parents are struck by the number of homeless animals and are moved to provide a better life for one (or more!) of them. While there are many reasons pet owners might choose to adopt a cat or a dog from a shelter, some particular benefits that might drive LGBTQ owners toward adoption:

Empathy: LGBTQ pet owners understand what it’s like being treated as an “outsider”. LGBTQ individuals may have to face intolerance, cruelty, and even neglect in their lives, and ending these struggles for a rescue animal can create a lifelong bond.

 

LGBTQ-Owned Pet Shops
Why the LGBTQ Community Takes Pride in Our Pets

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Gay Swan Couple Built a Nest Together: Zoo Gave Them 3D-Printed Eggs to Raise
Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Seriously Gay Animals

Research: Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men

Can Dogs be Queer?

 

 
 

Health: There have been countless studies on the connection between owning a pet and living a healthy life. Whether it’s the exercise you get from taking a dog for a long walk or the mental health boost provided by a cat curled up on your lap, it’s clear that adding a pet to your home enriches your life and theirs.
 

You Look Great: this may not be the first benefit you think of when rescuing a shelter pet, but it’s undeniable that someone who saves an animal suddenly becomes much more attractive. Kindness and compassion look good on anyone.

 

LGBTQ-Owned Pet Shops
Why the LGBTQ Community Takes Pride in Our Pets

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Australian Firefighters and Their Pets

Adorable Intersex Kitten, Born With No Sex Organs, Looking for a Home
Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly

Seriously Gay Animals

Research: Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men

Can Dogs be Queer?

 

 

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
 

Because LGBTQ folks tend to have less social support than their heterosexual peers, perhaps having a companion animal would contribute to quality of life for sexual minorities.

 

There are pros and cons to owning a pet as a marginalized individual.  A new study analyzes the relationship between pets and their young LGBTQ owners. The goal of this particular study is to focus on the younger LGBTQ population and to examine how human-animal interactions might impact a person's experience and well-being when faced with victimization over their sexual orientation or identity.

Since 2018, an ongoing study at the VCU School of Social Work has been analyzing the way pets impact the lives of young LGBTQ individuals. From animal-assisted therapy practices to having therapy dogs in schools to reduce anxiety, there are many mental health benefits to animal-human interactions. While the majority of current research is being focused on people who are not discriminated against or marginalized by society, this specific study could bring more clarity to how pets positively and negatively impact the lives of young LGBTQ people.


 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Australian Firefighters and Their Pets
Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

This study began in 2018 and has since focused on the role that animals specifically play in the lives of LGBTQ youth between the ages of 15-21 years old. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many of these interviews with individuals have been conducted via video conferences. The study parameters have even expanded, allowing for questions about what it's been like to have pets during the coronavirus lockdown. Interviews were conducted with LGBTQ individuals on their experiences with pets and how that has impacted their lives.

Questions in these interviews include things relating to: Detailing their relationship with their pets. Any stressors or benefits to living with a pet. The impact of pets during coronavirus lockdown.


McDonald explains to Commonwealth Times: "We added questions about experiences with pets during the pandemic because we wanted to expand our focus to understand how pets might support gender and sexual minority youth who were forced to live at home in a family environment that might not affirm their identity."

 


 

Queer Animals Are Everywhere

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Popular Gay Slang Inspired by the Animal Kingdom
Can Cats be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual?

Lots of Animals are Gay, Experts Find
Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly

Seriously Gay Animals

Research: Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men

Can Dogs be Queer?


Does human-animal interaction impact a person’s experience and well-being? Absolutely. Over the years, many studies have proven the benefits of human-animal interactions. From animal-assisted therapy practices to having therapy dogs in schools to reduce anxiety - there are many mental health benefits to animal-human interactions.

A similar study has been done on the impact of pets in the lives of older LGBTQ individuals. A different 2018 study explored the role of pets in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults over the age of 50.

This particular study addressed the following questions: How does living with a pet impact perceived social support and social network size? How do LGBTQ older adults describe the meaning of pets in their lives?
 

In this study, over 59 percent of participants reported that they have pets and described them in affectionate terms, often referring to them as family. Many individuals classified their pets as "supportive" either by offering companionship or keeping them active and socializing. Many participants explained that their pets help them cope with some form of physical or mental health condition.
 


 

Dolphins Have Lots of Lesbian Sex Due to Evolved Clitorises

Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Two Male Penguins Welcome Hatchling as New York Zoo's 1st Same-Sex Foster Parents
Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly

Seriously Gay Animals

Research: Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men

Can Dogs be Queer?

 

How is this study different? The goal of this particular study is to focus on the younger LGBTQ population and to examine how human-animal interactions might impact a person's experience and well-being when faced with victimization over their sexual orientation or identity. Not only that, but this study takes a look at both the positive and negative impacts of having a pet as an LGBTQ individual.

 

The vast majority of current research focuses on people who are not discriminated against or marginalized by society. According to the researchers, pets may lead marginalized people to "a path of financial stress and housing instability," which are issues the LGBTQ community already struggles with. "Pets can better people's lives," Richards explains to Commonwealth Times, "but it's also been interesting to see the ways in which pets can be stressors for people experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity."

 



Shelby McDonald, one of the lead associate professors on the study, has dedicated the last decade of her life to researching the role of animals in the lives of children and has recently turned that focus toward LGBTQ youth.

As of September 2, the researchers have conducted 164 initial interviews. O'Ryan, one of the student researchers, explains: "We've collected a pretty diverse bunch, but the participants we interviewed have been largely white, cisgender, bisexual women. I wish we had the chance to interview more people of color and more people from diverse gender identities."

 

[Source: Jamie Bell, Big Think, September 2020]

 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Can Cats be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual?

Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Popular Gay Slang Inspired by the Animal Kingdom

Australian Firefighters and Their Pets

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

 

Paws and Pride

 

Love Story Between LGBTQ Folks and Their Fur-bulous Companions

When it comes to love and companionship, LGBTQ individuals have a secret weapon that can melt even the coldest of hearts: their pets. It's no coincidence that the LGBTQ community and their furry friends make the purr-fect match. So, let's dive into the whimsical world of LGBTQ+ pet owners and their endless love for their four-legged confidants.

The RuPaul of the Dog Park

You've heard of the "Crazy Cat Lady," but have you met the "Fabulous Feline Gentleman" or the "Dog Park Diva"? LGBTQ pet owners have a reputation for turning everyday pet activities into a fabulous spectacle. From dressing their pets in miniature Pride parade outfits to teaching them how to strike a fierce pose, these owners aren't afraid to flaunt their pet's sassiness. Let's face it, when your dog has a wardrobe that rivals your own, you're in a league of your own.

 



The Ultimate "Paw-sitive" Support System

Life can be a whirlwind, and it's during these times that LGBTQ pet owners realize their pets are the true therapists of the household. As any therapist would tell you, listening is key, and our furry friends excel at this. They're always there to lend a paw, a sympathetic ear, or a comforting snuggle when things get "ruff."

The Pet Name Paradox

When it comes to naming their pets, LGBTQ individuals are known for their creativity. We're talking about names like "Sir Fluffington Von Cuddlekins" for a tiny Chihuahua and "Queen Beyoncé Whiskerbottom" for a regal Persian cat. It seems that the more fabulous the pet, the more extravagant the name.

Paw-ty Animals Extraordinaire

LGBTQ folks are no strangers to a good time, and they've found in their pets the perfect party partners. Not only do pets make the best listeners, but they also know how to throw a mean party. Just ask any LGBTQ pet owner about their pet's birthday party, complete with a doggy disco ball, catnip pińata, and a ferret fashion show.

Pet Pride Flags and Parades

Every Pride parade has its grand marshal, and in LGBTQ households, the pets proudly wear the tiara (or bowtie) as the leaders of the household. There's nothing quite like seeing pets donning their mini Pride flags and strutting their stuff in pride parades. They march to their own beat, usually marked by the sound of jingling tags.
 

 

Love Unconditionally

In a world where acceptance and love are cherished values, LGBTQ pet owners and their fur babies embody it perfectly. The bond between them is built on mutual love, support, and endless cuddles, regardless of who you are or where you come from.

The connection between LGBTQ individuals and their pets is one of laughter, love, and boundless affection. They've found in their pets a family member, a confidant, and a best friend, all wrapped up in a fluffy, furry package. This perspective on LGBTQ people and their pets is a heartwarming reminder that love knows no boundaries, not even species!
 

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Dolphins Have Lots of Lesbian Sex Due to Evolved Clitorises

Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Two Male Penguins Welcome Hatchling as New York Zoo's 1st Same-Sex Foster Parents
Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly

Seriously Gay Animals

Research: Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men

Can Dogs be Queer?

 

 

Pet Industry Statistics

 

Pets have taken over our lives and our hearts. Since the rise of technology, people have started to document all of the adorable antics their pets have been doing, along with the obligatory photos of their pets wearing adorable outfits. Due to the rise of social media, people have shared more than their fair share of cat and dog videos to make each other feel warm and fuzzy. While social media has connected all of our friends and families, one can help but notice more, and more of our personal friends are posting photos of their pets. That being said, have you ever thought to yourself, “how many pets are there in the US?” Or have you ever wanted to settle the famous cat and dog debate once in for all?

 


Our love of pets has left a paw print in our daily lives. From dominating social media, reshaping the pet food industry, creating new pet trends, and raising awareness on the need to adopt rather than buy. Pet owners will go to great lengths to ensure their pets are eating the best food and living their best life. Cats and dogs are the favorite pet for most households, but people have been more open to exotic pets to call their own throughout the years.


Top Pet Statistics According to a 2020 survey by the American Pet Products Association covering pet ownership statistics, 67 percent of households are pet owners. To put that into perspective, about 85 million families in the US own a pet. The most common/popular pets in America (by volume) are as follows:

 

--Fish: 142 million freshwater fish and 9.6 million saltwater fish

--Cats: 88.3 million cats

--Dogs: 74.8 million dogs

--Birds: 16 million birds

--Small Animals: 24.3 million small animals (hamsters, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs)

--Horses: 13.8 million horses

--Reptiles: 13.4 million reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizards)

 

Among the cuddly varieties, the two most popular companion animals are dogs and cats. Of households with pets, 71% have dogs and 55% have cats. Community Marketing Inc. has conducted an annual LGBTQ community marketing survey and found that 41% of gay men have dogs and 27% have cats.
 

[Source: Gay Travel, Pet Ownership Statistics]

 

 

Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Adorable Intersex Kitten, Born With No Sex Organs, Looking for a Home

Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Lots of Animals are Gay, Experts Find

Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly

 

LGBTQ People and Their Relationships with Animal Companions


Relatively early in the lesbian feminist movement, women spoke about the close relationships that they shared with animal companions who lived in the home. Cats specifically were spoken about as much loved family members and as possible sources of tension or distress should a human couple separate. Cats were also spoken about in terms of the politics of animal ‘ownership’, and what it meant for lesbian political organizing to fight against the oppression of women, whilst remaining silent on the oppression of animals.

Since these early forays into the intersections of lesbian feminist and animal rights, relatively little has been discussed publicly about the role of animals in the lives of lesbians, gay men, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Certainly in academic circles, until very recently animals were only alluded to in the context of LGBTQ people’s lives. Primarily this occurred in research on intimate partner violence in lesbian women’s relationships, where early research in the field noted that in some women’s relationships animals were used as tools of coercion and control.

 



More recently, however, academic attention has turned to focus more closely on the intersections of human and animal lives in the context of LGBTQ communities. Researchers have explored how close kinship relationships with cats may help give meaning to the lives of older lesbian women, helping to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

My research team recently published on the role of animal companions in the lives of LGBTQ people who experience either intimate partner or family violence. Our research found that for LGBTQ people who experience intimate partner violence, and whose animal companions were also subjected to violence, this was associated with lower levels of social support and higher levels of psychological distress as compared to people whose animal companions were not subjected to violence.

In terms of our research on family violence, we found that relationships with animals appeared to play a protective role, potentially buffering violence perpetuated by family members. In our analysis of the qualitative data collected as part of the survey, we found that animal companions were seen as offering unconditional positive regard in the face of violence perpetrated by intimate partners or family members.

 

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Popular Gay Slang Inspired by the Animal Kingdom

Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly

Seriously Gay Animals

Research: Influence of Companion Animals on Quality of Life of Gay and Bisexual Men

Can Dogs be Queer?

 

 

Participants made comments such as: "My cat at my parents’ house was always a good friend through hard times and the emotional abuse I received."

Importantly, and reminiscent of early lesbian feminist research, our participants also raised concerns about the rights of animal companions to protection and safety, as noted by another of our participants: "I had a dog at the time and she stayed at my home whilst I went between my own home and the home of my abusive partner. I would not take my dog to her home as I would not have put my dog at risk of abuse. My dog was a great source of comfort to me. I did sometimes deliberately deflect my partners anger towards her own animals or her children onto myself (by deliberately goading her) in order to protect them."

Returning to the early lesbian feminist work mentioned above, it is perhaps timely, given the erosion in certain countries of the rights of LGBTQ people, and the fierce opposition that many LGBTQ people face in their daily lives, that we return to focus on the intersections of human and animals lives. Perhaps like the proverbial canary in a coalmine, the rise of research on LGBTQ people’s relationships with animal companions tells us something about the increasing need that many LGBTQ people experience to extend their kinship circles beyond the human. Different to the canary, however, hopefully animals are valued as sentient beings in their own rights, rather than simply as portents of further challenges that may lie ahead for LGBTQ people.

[Source: Damien W. Riggs, Associate Professor in Social Work, Flinders University, Australia]

 

 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Australian Firefighters and Their Pets

Adorable Intersex Kitten, Born With No Sex Organs, Looking for a Home

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Can Cats be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual?

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

I’m Not a Cat Lesbian But I Fell in Love With One

Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

 

Lesbians and Cats

 

In what ways are lesbian like cats? The fact that queer women love cats is one of my favorite stereotypes about lesbians. I currently own five (one had kittens) and it’s been the most successful pick-up line I’ve ever used. “Why don’t you come home with me and meet my five week old kittens” is like the lesbian version of a man offering to bring a straight girl back home for a drink. It works every time. And it’s easy to see why. We have so much in common with cats! They’re totally our spirit animals, and here's why:

 

Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Adorable Intersex Kitten, Born With No Sex Organs, Looking for a Home

Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

Cats Are Nonchalant - The cat glare is scarily similar to the too-cool-for-you glances you get from girls in gay clubs. Truth is, we’re both just trying to look uninterested while totally checking out what’s going on in our peripheral vision. Nothing gets past us. Straight folks need sunglasses to hide what they’re looking at, but both cats and queer ladies have the sideways-stare down. Like a ninja.

Once They Love You, They Love You Forever - Cats totally have the urge-to-merge. Forever. It may take a while at first, but win a cat's trust and they’re yours forever.

They Have Sharp Claws, And Will Use Them If Necessary - Ours are metaphorical of course, but piss off a lesbian and she won't pussyfoot around you. Especially if you hurt her bestie, she'll go full-on bulldog on you.

They’re Androgynous - I mean who can even tell what gender a cat is anyway. And you don’t see anyone trying to be like Hey, cat, what's your gender? do you? Because you don’t fuck with a feline.

 



They Love Playing with Toys - A girl’s best friend is her … smartphone. I mean gay girls love gadgets, right? Stop looking at me like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. Oh, honestly.

So it’s settled. Cats are the definitely every lesbian/bi girls BFF. Wow, I made it through all of that without making a single pussy joke. Go me!

[Source: E J Rosetta, LGBTQ Columnist and Coffee Addict, lives in Hampshire, England with her spoiled cat, Hendricks]

 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

I’m Not a Cat Lesbian But I Fell in Love With One
Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Popular Gay Slang Inspired by the Animal Kingdom

 


LGBTQ Community: Taking Pride in Our Pets

One thing is certain about our friends with four legs and a tail—we love them, and they love us back. LGBTQ pet parents, in particular, have a special relationship with their four-legged companions… and it’s not just love—it’s science.  Did you know that 7 out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults are pet parents?

Regarding our own mental health and wellness, we can all count on one source of support, and it’s our pets. In a survey of pet owners, four in five revealed that their pet has positively impacted their mental health—from social connections to self-esteem, routines, and anxiety relief. This proves true for cats and dogs.

 

The experts agree, and some have studied pet companionship unique to LGBTQ people. One study found that pets served as a buffer to stress, a coping mechanism for mental health, provided a sense of purpose and identity, and even helped with overall socialization. About 75% of those studied consider their pet “a source of support that helps them cope with LGBTQ-related stressors, such as discrimination, rejection and microaggressions from their peers and family members.”

 


 

Smart Gay Life: Best Pets for LGBTQ Pet Owners

Same-Sex Penguin Couples

Pets Provide Support to LGBTQ Seniors

Lots of Animals are Gay, Experts Find

Companies That Are Dog-Friendly and LGBTQ-Friendly


It turns out that our pets’ unconditional love and companionship contribute to our professional, personal, and academic growth, according to one study of young adults. In this research, the link between LGBTQ adolescents’ poor social support and their resulting mental health challenges was significantly influenced by animal companionship.

Researchers also found that having a pet benefits LGBTQ adults over 50, highlighting their influence on social support and even in meeting new people. They also found that pets introduced exercise, companionship, and more active routines into these adults’ lives as their schedules became less busy (and less social) as they grew older.

 

From the classroom to retirement, our pups and kitties play a substantial role in the lives of LGBTQ people. Similar to couples struggling to conceive, pets are a great way to bring a new ‘baby’ home for gay and lesbian couples. There’s a reason we have the term “furbaby,” after all. The adoption process can be cost-prohibitive and yet another source of discrimination for same-sex parents-to-be.

 



It’s not just babies, though. Queer people use the term “chosen family” to represent their unique community circles and friend group dynamics. Chosen families are as diverse as those in them, becoming the family we find outside our biological one (or in place of it).  From family dinners to emotional support, chosen families play a meaningful role in LGBTQ lives, and, you guessed it—our cats and dogs are also part of our chosen families. Though, maybe not so much at the dinner table.

Our pets bring a smile to our faces, make us laugh even when they’re naughty, keep us warm on cold nights, and encourage us to take long walks in the sunshine. For the LGBTQ community, this source of love, companionship, belonging, and purpose makes our day and gives some a reason to see the next one.  Pet parenting isn’t easy, and neither is being queer or trans. In our minds and in our hearts, it’s all worth it to take pride in pet parenting.

[Source: Dylan M. Austin, Figo, Oct 2022]

 

LGBTQ-Owned Pet Shops
Why the LGBTQ Community Takes Pride in Our Pets
Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Australian Firefighters and Their Pets
Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

 

 

For LGBTQ Youth, Pets Can Be a Source of Wellbeing

In a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study of 117 sexual and gender minority youth living in the US, researchers found nearly 75% of participants said they consider their pet to be a source of support that helps them cope with LGBTQ-related stressors. And nearly 90% also talked about the stress related to owning a pet.

For sexual and gender minority emerging adults, living with pets can be an important influence on identity development and related well-being by facilitating feelings of belonging, positive self-regard and purpose, by promoting social interactions, and by providing emotional support and comfort to cope with stress.

At the same time, however, pets can also be a source of psychological stress and caregiving burden for this population, which includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and other sexual and gender identities.

 

The qualitative study investigated the benefits and risks associated with living with companion animals by interviewing 117 sexual and gender minority youth living in the US.

 


 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Sexy Australian Firefighters and Their Pets
Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

Can Cats be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual?

Lots of Animals are Gay, Experts Find

 

A number of themes emerged from the interviews. These included benefits such as: pets as a buffer to stress, pets as social capital, pets as a coping mechanism for mental health, and pets as identity and purpose. Risks, meanwhile, included caregiver burden, pets as barriers to relationships, and animal-related psychological stress.

“Sexual and gender minority emerging adults are at risk for experiencing additional stressors (such as victimization, rejection, discrimination) due to oppressive cis-heteronormative societal attitudes and structures,” Matijczak said. “This additional stress may lead to mental health symptoms. Pet ownership and interactions with pets provide benefits that may help people cope with stress and improve psychosocial health (fewer mental health symptoms, higher self-esteem). On the other hand, the results of our studies (and other qualitative studies) also suggest that pet ownership may contribute to stress.”

To address health disparities, she added, it is important to consider how pet ownership might provide unique benefits and risks among sexual and gender minority emerging adults.

All of the study’s participants described receiving some benefit from the relationship with their pet or pets. Nearly 75% said they consider their pet to be a source of support that helps them cope with LGBTQ-related stressors, such as discrimination, rejection and microaggressions from their peers and family members.

 



Nearly 90% of participants also talked about the stress related to owning a pet.

“While the benefits of pet ownership and the human-animal bond are frequently discussed in research and popular news media, it is also important to consider the stressors associated with pet ownership,” Murphy said.

“The study’s findings that pets can provide an important form of social support and comfort during times of stress, but also are a cause of stress due to financial and housing concerns and worry about the pets’ health and well-being, could provide valuable information for those working with sexual and gender minority emerging adults,” Tomlinson said.

“Clinicians, community organizations and researchers working with this population should consider pets and the role they play in emerging adults’ lives,” Tomlinson said. “For example, community supports (such as pet-friendly rental housing, low-cost veterinary care and services) may help to mitigate some of the stressors reported.”

[Source: Brian McNeill, Virginia Commonwealth University, July 2021]

 

Advocate Poll: Gays More Likely to Own Pets

Relationship Between Pets and Their LGBTQ Owners
Queer Women Own the Most Cats

Gay Couple and Their Dog

Pet Industry Statistics for 2021

Sexy Australian Firefighters and Their Pets
Stuff Lesbians Love: Cats

Dog Rescue and the LGBTQ Community

 

Can Dogs and Cats Be Gay?

 

If you've ever had a pet, you may have wondered if your dog or cat can be gay. You may have seen your dog mount another pup at the dog park. Or watched as your cat seemed only to groom her female litter mates while ignoring her brothers. Since house pets don't often couple up with a significant other, these questions may just be speculation. However, when you look at the animal kingdom as a whole, especially those critters who are free to roam around without the confines of a human home, the idea of dogs and cats exhibiting homosexual behavior is something that deserves closer attention.



 

Studying Same-Sex Behavior in Animals
 

Same-sex behavior has long been noted in animals of many different species. In 2014, the BBC reported on a pair of male Humboldt penguins who raise orphaned eggs together at a zoo in Kent, England. You may have even noticed your own pet cuddling up to a same-sex pal. But before we can determine whether pets can be gay, we first need to set the baseline for what is considered "gay" in the animal kingdom.
 

Gay human beings are defined as being sexually attracted to people of the same sex. However, human sexual orientation is famously varied and fluid, and scientists who study the sexual activity of animals urge us not to compare our behavior to our pets' for a variety of reasons.

 

Seriously Gay Animals

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Can Sexual Behavior Be Misinterpreted?
 

Can dogs be gay? Can cats be gay? Here's another reason why it's tough to find the answer to these questions: for animals, what's presumed to be a mating behavior may be misinterpreted. For example, both male and female dogs will mount other dogs. While it is possible that some pets do this because they want to engage in sexual activities, there are many other reasons they may be performing that behavior. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests that mounting is less about sex and more about playing, releasing stress or showing dominance. Also, don't forget that dogs will often mount humans and furniture as well.

Male cats (even neutered ones) may also mount their pet parents and other household kitties to show who's boss. Neutering or spaying your pet will often help prevent mounting and other aggressive behaviors. Cats are also known for their grooming skills, and will often lick and sleep cuddled up to other cats. What may seem like sexual behavior to humans may very well be a part of social grooming.

 


 

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The Jury Is Still Out
 

While there's been much speculation, there's no scientific evidence of various animals, especially house pets, being gay or not.

"Whether there's any kind of same-sex sexual preference going on, that's left entirely to the imagination in the sense that the data just doesn't exist to demonstrate one way or the other," said Paul Vasey from the University of Lethbridge to the Washington Post. He continues to say that being exclusively gay is "exceptionally rare" in the animal kingdom.

So, if you're curious if your dog or cat is gay, know that there is currently no evidence to support this notion at least in terms that humans are used to defining homosexuality.


 
 

Measuring Puppy Love
 

Scientists often study two things when trying to determine whether animals can be gay: exclusivity and longevity. Exclusivity considers whether these animals are participating in sexual relations only with members of the same sex. A study in the Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology journal found that about 8 percent of rams appear to mate exclusively with other males, but domesticated sheep seem to be the only non-human mammal with deliberate same-sex mating behaviors. Other animals, such as Japanese macaques, bottlenose dolphins and bonobos (one of our closest primate relatives), mate and cuddle with partners of both genders, notes the BBC — exhibiting more fluid behavior that is closer to what we would call bisexuality.

Next, scientists consider longevity when studying same-sex behavior in animals. Female albatrosses, for example, often form lifelong partnerships with other females. But dogs and cats don't tend to engage in any sexual behaviors for long periods of time. Unspayed cats will go into heat several times a year and may attempt to be mounted, rubbed, or licked by another cat, regardless of sex. Because cats and dogs also do not have long-term mates like humans, longevity is often quite difficult to measure.

[Source: Erin Ollila, Hill's Pet, June 2018]

 

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Swiss Museum Showcases Queer Relationships in Animal Kingdom

Same-sex behavior has been observed in about 1,500 species, including dolphins, rams, and bonobos. An exhibition in Bern, Switzerland is highlighting same-sex relationships found outside the human species.

“Many people think that homosexuality and being queer are marginal and perverse phenomena. They say they are unnatural,” Christian Kropf, a biologist at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern, he said. “But this is nonsense!” He explained that what is unnatural is homophobia. “I don’t know of a single case of homosexual individuals being marginalized or disadvantaged in the animal world,” said the biologist.

 


 

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Kropf studies invertebrates and is employed at Bern’s Natural History Museum as a specialist. He is also the curator of the exhibition titled “Queer: Diversity Is in Our Nature.” The show highlights the diversity of gender and sexuality in humans and other animals, and it features discussions on homosexuality and its biological aspects.

The exhibition shows plenty of examples of same-sex behavior found in nature. Dolphins, for example, can form same-sex couples. Male European rams are known to mate with other males about 6 percent of the time, according to the museum. “Although they have the choice, they aren’t interested in females. Male sheep have intense contact, lick their genitals and have anal intercourse,” Kropf told the outlet.

Same-sex behavior has been observed in about 1,500 species and is probably present in all social vertebrates. “The reasons for homosexual relationships are not always clear, but we do know that they strengthen social bonds and can contribute to group unity,” he explained.

 



Research from Murdoch University in Australia found that interactions among animals of the same sex can help create bonds and produce hierarchies, which could aid in hunting.

“I don’t know if the exhibition contributed to the acceptance of the new marriage law in Switzerland,” Kopf said. “But it certainly had an impact on my father. He is 87 years old and has never spoken well of homosexual people. But since he came here, he has changed. He realized that same-sex behavior is absolutely normal.”  Earlier this year, Switzerland became one of the last European Union countries to legalize same-sex marriage.

[Source: Alex Cooper, Advocate Magazine, Dec 2021]


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