A foundational question My Dog is My Home has always asked itself, it's supporters, and it's challengers is "What is home?" This June, we are reminded to also ask "What is family?"
My Dog is My Home believes that the matter of animals as family is related to other critical discussions about family. Despite great institutional gains, society continues to grapple with the idea that our families' strongest ties are not limited to biology or tradition. Growing pains can be felt in our work, where we see the disproportionate challenges alternative families face when attempting to obtain services. The battle ensues on political and interpersonal grounds, in instances ranging from equal access to housing to equal services at a florist*. So in our commitment to challenging dusty notions of what a family can and should look like, we support and align ourselves with other movements that also struggle for the empowerment of their families.
Family should be defined by the commitment and care amongst its members, regardless of its members' housing status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic that may differ from the mainstream. As Myra, a formerly homeless My Dog is My Home ambassador and Hollywood trans community member, well states,
I have a lover and I have my dogs. I'm not going anywhere without them--home, street, or wherever. We may not look like the family that came out of Home and Garden magazine, but that's what we are. And I'll be damned if anyone tells me differently.
Happy Pride Month!
*Ingersoll v Arlene's Flowers - A Benton County Superior Court judge ruled in February 2017 that a florist violated the Washington state’s anti-discrimination law when she denied service to a gay couple for their wedding. The ruling came in a lawsuit (Ingersoll v. Arlene’s Flowers) filed by the ACLU on behalf of Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll.