Being a "zoophile" in modern American society . . . is "like being gay in the 1950s. You feel like you have to hide, that if you say it out loud, people will look at you like a freak."
"This is not a fetish . . . It's an orientation, a lifestyle."
"God is more concerned with how we treat others than what sex we have."
-- From "Zoophiles love and have sex with animals. Will the world ever accept them?" by Thomas Francis, Miami New Times 8/20/09
Cody Beck . . . an 18-year-old from Arizona who graduated from high school this past year . . . believes he and other members of this minority sexual orientation, who often call themselves "zoos," can follow the same path as the gay rights movement. Most researchers believe 2 to 8 percent of the population harbors forbidden desires toward animals, and Beck hopes this minority group can begin appealing to the open-minded for acceptance.
But if those like Beck are to make the same gains as gays, it's apparent they will have to do so without the help of gay rights groups, which so far want nothing to do with a zoophile movement. What's more, they will have to wage battle with well-funded and politically connected animal-protection activists.
As cave drawings will attest, there's a carnal desire in some humans to lie with beasts. And though many civilizations have tried, none has been able to eradicate it, much to the frustration of organizations such as the Humane Society.
Cody Beck, the Arizona zoophile who came out to his friends, was 12 then and had only just come to realize he was a zoophile. In the years since, he's been thrilled by how activists' efforts have broadened minds about what qualifies as moral, socially acceptable sex. He recognizes the exciting implications it might have for zoophiles like him. But he's crushed by the gay rights movement's rejection of zoophilia as a similarly legitimate orientation.
Beck believes these are expressions of fear that are natural in the early moments of revolution. "That's the story throughout history," he says. "People don't want to stand up for anything, because they don't want to get hurt." He draws some of his own strength from the recent movie Milk, in which Sean Penn plays the nation's first openly gay elected official, San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk. "If we all stand up at once, we'll share the load. What's the point of living if we have to hide who we are?"
. . . zoophiles might yet prove the new frontier in the battle for sexual civil rights.
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