Extensive literature reveals the many health benefits animal companions can bring to the humans who live with them. However, much of this work has taken place with heterosexual and cisgender populations. To address this gap, we conducted qualitative interviews with 19 trans and cisgender women of diverse sexualities in Australia who reported having significant relationships with animal companions. In this article, we explore the benefits of healthcare providers (e.g. doctors, counsellors) recognising the potential significance of interspecies companionship for the health of trans and cisgender women of diverse sexualities. Findings relating to interactions with animal service providers are used to further illustrate themes of recognition and non-recognition as they relate to the women’s genders, sexualities, and relationships with animal companions. In the discussion we consider some of the contextual challenges for such recognition to occur in service provision. Suggestions are then offered in relation to how providers might think about service provision which is both inclusive of all women and takes into account close connections with animal companions.
- Animal companions