Lesbians and Our Pets
Discussing our community and the love affair with pets.
What is it about lesbians and our pets? I don’t think I’ve ever found myself in a group of queer women where the conversation doesn’t turn to our dogs, or cats, or horses, or finches, or fish, or…. Well you get the idea. Is it the same for you? I know that my life wouldn’t be complete without pets, and I’m thrilled that every month here at Curve I’ll be bringing my love of animals, to all of you in this new web column!
Animals have always played a huge role in my life. As a teenager I competed in canine sports, I have multiple dog-themed tattoos, including portraits of my current dogs. Speaking of which, and a little bit more about me and my animal obsession: My partner Kestryl and I have been together ten years and are parents to a (not so) small menagerie of critters. Sharing our Brooklyn apartment are: Sierra and Noirchat the 14-year-old kitties who are littermates and have been with Kestryl since they were tiny kittens. Mercury is our 12-year-old Chihuahua-Doxie mix who I’ve had since he was six weeks old and who literally grew up with me in punk houses. Our youngest two had rougher starts in life: Charlotte our 4-year-old Shepard/Cattle Dog mix was found living on the streets starving with a litter of puppies before a rescue saved her; and then the baby of the family, Thing, a semi-feral 11 month old kitten we found barely weaned in a snow bank last winter. It’s never a dull moment around my house and I’m sure my critters will be making appearances in future months!
In a recent research study from Prudential on the “LGBT Financial Experience,” pet care items were in the top five discretionary income expenditures for lesbians! Does that sounds about right for your budget? It definitely does for my family—we vacation with our dogs as often as we can, and all that kibble adds up and that’s before you start factoring in toys, and treats. Let’s not even get started on the vet bills! Why do queer women spend so much of our disposable income on our pets? Obviously, it’s not just a lesbian thing: last year alone, Americans on the whole spent an all-time-high of $55.7 billion on our pets!
Clearly, a whole lot of Americans love our pets, but I maintain there is something special about the relationship between a lesbian and her cat, or dog, or turtle…. Many lesbians (myself included) have been rejected by our birth families and built our own. It’s no wonder that for us dykes, animals are more than just pets—they are our best friends, our kids, and beloved members of our chosen families.
Sassafras Lowrey is a straightedge queer punk who grew up to become the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books—Kicked Out, Roving Pack, and Leather Ever After—have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Her next novel Lost Boi will be released from Arsenal Pulp Press in Spring 2015. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner and five furry beasts. www.SassafrasLowrey.com