Pride in Pictures 1990: Our furry family members

Pride in Pictures 1990: Our furry family members
Pet Owners with AIDS/ARC Resource Service march in the 1990 New York Pride parade. Photo: National Museum of American History

Pets are family to many LGBTQ people, and in the shadow of the AIDS crisis, it was a challenge to keep people with their pets.

Some patients no longer had the energy to care for one. Others could no longer afford their pet or had to move into more-affordable housing that didn’t allow them.

The separations made a terrible situation even worse.

But organizations like New York-based Pet Owners with AIDS/ARC Resource Service would step in during the ’90s. They’d provide food and care at little or no charge. They’d help keep pet families together.

San Francisco launched the first such pet program, Pets are Wonderful Support, in 1987. By 1994, PAWS-LA had 800 clients, 700 volunteers and 1,200 pets, according to a 1994 Reuters story in the Los Angeles Times.

The UCLA School of Public Health confirmed how AIDS patients benefited from their pets in a 1999 study.

“Pet ownership among men who have AIDS provides a certain level of companionship that helps them cope better with the stresses of their lives,” said psychologist Judith Siegel, a UCLA professor of public health and lead author of the report. “This is one more study that demonstrates the health benefits that owning a pet can provide.”

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Christian colleges are being challenged by LGBTQ students. They go there.

Previous article

This hero fought off a mob of thugs attacking two gay men leaving a pride festival

Next article