The Homophobic Dog isn't actually homophobic - she's a gay icon

Her name is literally Whitney Chewston. *obsessed*

Whitney Chewston, often known as the Homophobic Dog, celebrating Pride
Image: @whitney_chewston via Instagram

If you’ve ever heard of Whitney Chewston, you probably first knew her by her alias, Homophobic Dog.

Well, it’s not technically an alias. It’s just what people tend to call her.

Whitney is a self-proclaimed “diva dachshund” known for starring in memes on Twitter where a photo of her, often looking sassy or suspicious, is captioned with something homophobic. These captions range in their intensity, from “just saw something lgbt” to “f slur”.

Most of them sound like something Grandad would say at Christmas that makes everyone deeply uncomfortable, like “I just can’t support that kind of mindset.

But Whitney’s not actually homophobic at all. She’s really just a pup with a very tongue-in-cheek (do dogs have cheeks?) sense of humour.

A picture of a white dachshund (Whitney Chewston) looking at the camera with "it just isn't natural" written over it

Whitney herself is from a rainbow family, living with her two dads in Phoenix, Arizona. And more recently, Whitney has begun to star in memes expressing her true feelings, like ones that say “love is love” and “fond of gays.” 

This past June, Whitney thanked LGBTQ+ activists for their tireless work towards equal rights for the community. “This Pride Month we honor those who made our family of three possible,” she wrote (or more likely dictated) on her Instagram, pictured in a matching sweatshirt to her dads.

Whitney has become quite the celebrity. She has close to 200,000 followers on Instagram, a website where you can buy ‘w. chew’ merchandise, a page on Know Your Meme and even interviews with a variety of publications.

The Homophobic Dog memes started with a picture of her overlaid with the text “not too fond of gay people,” made from a picture Whitney’s owners posted of her looking sassy with a wine glass. According to Know Your Meme, the image and text went viral as an ironic reaction image, often used by LGBTQ+ people about news relating to the community.

Whitney memes took off, with people taking other images of her and ironically adding other homophobic sentiments. As her meme popularity grew though, her following created a shift in her internet’s persona’s attitude, with people creating memes of her being accepting and expressing her love for the community.

Like her namesake, Whitney Chewston has become quite the icon – even Lil Nas X seems to be a fan. In March, Lil Nas X recruited his followers to find him Whitney memes, tweeting “can u guys send me more pictures of that homophobic dog” to his followers. A few months later, the rapper used Whitney in one of his fake collaborations to encourage people to pre-save his new song, telling using a campy graphic to tell followers they could win a chance to meet “the homophobic dog” by pre-saving the song.

Still, there are those who don’t know who she is, or at least didn’t know her name. 

Other people’s lack of knowledge about Whitney is especially funny for those in the know when people who are unaware try to get in on her popularity. Chick-fil-A, for example, a chain famous for its anti-LGBTQ+ policies, apparently does not keep up with popular memes.

On June 1, the company tweeted “You’re the best part of our day [heart emoji].” Many Twitter users criticised the company and the tweet, arguing it was especially tone deaf on the first day of Pride month.

The user @hobertweets, however, chose to subtly troll the chain by writing, “Great to hear! This little fella will have a great time at your restaurant!” and attaching the picture of Whitney that originally went viral, but without its overlaid text. 

Chick-fil-A, apparently unaware of the small white dog’s connotations and love for the queer community, responded to the tweet with an appreciative “Aww! [heart emoji].” Ever since, the restaurant’s critics have been having a field day – often with more Whitney memes.

Another Twitter user, @SaeedDiCaprio, decided to take this connection between Whitney, memes, and Chick-fil-A one step farther, tweeting a fake screenshot of a non-existent Chick-fil-A post.

In the fake post, Chick-fil-A’s Twitter account is meant to have written “Goodbye June, and hello July! #thelittlethings” above a meme of Whitney in a cardboard box asking “are they gone yet?” @SaeedDiCaprio captioned the fake screenshot “omg??? chick fil a???” feigning outrage at the fake tweet’s suggestion of the chain restaurant celebrating the end of Pride month.

The tweet received lots of attention and responses, often more memes of Whitney being “homophobic” or other memes about how as soon as Pride month ends, corporations pack their ally-ship back into a tidy box to sit in the attic until next June.

One thing is evident. Character arc and merchandise or not, Whitney’s 15 minutes of fame are still going strong. We can’t wait to see what she gets up to next.

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