Stereotype of lesbians working in, or running, animal shelters

A gay female friend of mine was telling me that she met her SO while volunteering at the local animal shelter, and it was well known that animal shelters and related services tend to have a very high proportion of lesbians working there, and also often running them. This was news to me. Is this true?

In my experience yes. I’ve know multiple lesbians who have working at animal shelters.

Yes it is a stereotype. Much like gay men working as airline attendants. Odds are if they ping my gaydar they won’t mind me flirting with them.

In my experience, yes.

I have never heard of or experienced this.

I’m a queer woman and have never heard of this stereotype and I’ve never experienced this. Yoga studios on the other hand…

Edit: I do know a number of veterinarians who look like lesbians though, but none of them are.

I think “working in, or running, animal shelters” is overly specific, but I do have the impression that perhaps a larger than average number of lesbians work or volunteer with animals. I wouldn’t expect to go into an animal shelter and meet a bunch of lesbians there, but if I were meeting a bunch of lesbians I wouldn’t be surprised if several did some kind of work with animals. Regardless of sexual orientation it seems like an unsurprising thing for a grown-up “tomboy” to want to do, since it combines a certain ruggedness or outdoorsiness with caring for others. Stereotypically at least lesbians also tend to own pets, often several pets, so it’s not a huge leap from there to occasionally volunteering at a shelter or animal clinic.

I think that lesbians are often shunned by the world and are often seen as “different.” They relate to animals better because they are not human. Maybe lesbians can’t get along with people (because they get made fun of), but rather find comfort caring for animals because they can’t talk back or say anything. I feel I like animals a lot and relate to them a lot, but I’m not a lesbian…so take it what it’s worth.

One of my friends runs an animal shelter. She’s hetero and married to a guy. She sleeps with pit bulls.

This is really funny. “Shunned”? “Can’t get along with people because they make fun of us”? Your comments are really quite misguided.

My partner and I have no trouble at all socializing with the world at large either at home or in our worldwide travels. Our lesbian tenant is a professional public speaker and has appeared on major TV news networks. I used to work in public relations and my partner has to deal with the public and municipal politicians routinely. Aside from legal policy (in the days before same-sex marriage was legal here), we have not been particularly socially oppressed, or made fun of. We’ve not been traumatized by our peers, and we don’t prefer the company of animals to people.

I also used to be a lesbian sports league and quite literally know hundreds of other lesbians, and I don’t think I can say that any one of them is particularly shy or feels ostracized by society in general. Many of them have pets, many of them don’t. I don’t think any of them work with animals except for the two who own a hobby farm in addition to their day jobs. Most of the lesbians I know actually work in very social jobs that require them to deal with people on a day-today basis. For some reason I know a vast number of lesbian lawyers, a lot of lesbians teachers, and a large number work in health care: off the top of my head I know several lesbian chiropractors, RMTs, therapists, nurses, and alternative medicine practitioners.

Edit: Now that I think about it I really know a lot of lesbians who work in some kind of health care or teaching profession.

In my experience, a lot of non-hetero women of all stripes volunteer and work (as in career work) in charitable and aid-based fields. Animal shelters, educational programs, social work, hunger programs, community organizing, disability services and so on. In our queer girl coffee klatches, I’m often the only one of a dozen or so attendees who actually works for a non 501©3 corporation.

I think it is true that lesbians on average do more volunteer/aid-based work than heterosexual women. This might be in part because being a member of a fairly small minority group makes lesbians more interested in helping others, but I’d think it probably has more to do with the fact that lesbians are less likely to have children than straight women. Not that there aren’t also plenty of lesbians with kids, and plenty of women with kids who do volunteer work, but not having kids means that time/energy/money that would otherwise need to be devoted to the kids can be directed elsewhere.