Whitney Chewston, the ‘homophobic dog,’ isn’t actually homophobic
words by Ashlyn Robinette
Photos by Zoe Zvosech
If you’ve been scrolling on social media lately, then you may have come across Whitney Chewston, the viral “homophobic dog.” Different memes feature the white dachshund with her trademark disapproving look, overtly judging gay people with captions including “not too fond of gay people,” “let’s hope it’s just a phase,” “I know what you are,” and “it’s a choice,” among other homophobic sentiments. But the truth is, she’s anything but homophobic — just ask her two gay dads, Logan Hickman and Ben Campbell.
“Whitney is a huge supporter of the gay community,” Hickman says. “She’ll always be a champion for gay people and their rights. If people want to continue making memes that bring awareness to homophobia that still exists, we’re all about it.”
When the recently married couple began posting pictures of their dog on Instagram (@whitney_chewston) in 2016, they never anticipated her skyrocketing into meme stardom, especially not for homophobia. But one image did just that. An image of Whitney posted on June 12, 2019, depicts her sitting next to a glass of red wine with the caption “Wednesdays are for a little wine. Like if you agree!”
“I was like, ‘this is the perfect photo opportunity for Whitney because it’s Wednesday and she’s a weiner dog, so it’s a little wine, weiner, Wednesday alliteration,’” Hickman adds. “I remember putting her on the counter and I thought, ‘this is going to be the dumbest photo ever.’ It turned out to be her most popular photo for the time and then it became a meme.”
It wasn’t until March 2021 that the image first appeared as a meme, according to Know Your Meme. An Instagram artist (@honiedewz) turned the seemingly judgemental photo into a meme by sprawling the phrase “not too fond of gay people” across it, suggesting that Whitney is homophobic. When comments about the viral meme began appearing under the dog’s Instagram posts, the artist reached out to Hickman and Campbell to explain that the meme was created as a joke to send to friends, but it somehow ended up being posted on social media. By early 2022, the meme inspired people all over Twitter, most of whom are LGBTQ+ creators, to photoshop their own versions with different photos and ironic homophobic captions.
“When that meme took off, that’s when she really started gaining followers,” Hickman says. “It’s funny. Now, you can Google her name and see so many different photos of her with different memes and they’ve become pretty recognizable, especially within the gay communiuty online.”
Even though the “diva dachshund” has amassed nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram, Hickman says that the almost 6-year-old weiner dog is still the same Whitney and that the fame hasn’t gone to her head.
“It’s wild,” he says. “We’ll just be taking her for a walk and people will run up because they recognize her. She has a very niche following so it’s not like she has a ton of followers, but they’re loyal.”
Whitney’s fans, known as “Chewstonites,” have created an entire story arch for her: first she was homophobic, next she was tolerant of queer people, then suddenly she was gay — the theories go on.
“I don’t know what Whitney’s preferences are,” Hickman says. “She’s been spayed so she really didn’t get a chance in life to explore that side of her. But what I will say is that the homophobic dog memes are hilarious. She’s absolutely not homophobic, but we like the memes, we think they’re funny, and if nothing else, they do a really great job of shedding light on things and people who actually are homophobic. All of those phrases that have become memes... people who created the memes, mostly gay people, have heard those sayings used toward them at some point in their lives. So, it’s satire really, and it’s a great, creative way to bring awareness.”
The couple, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, recognize that the homophobic memes are used ironically. Because the memes make fun of those who are actually homophobic, Hickman and Campbell are all for people using Whitney as a tool to raise awareness.
For Pride Month, Hickman and Campbell created a limited edition W. Chew Tie Dye Hat, in which 50% of proceeds will be donated to one•n•ten Phoenix. one•n•ten serves LGBTQ+ youth and young adults in Phoenix “by providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices,” according to its website.
“So far, I think we’ve already raised almost $500 for one•n•ten,” Hickman says. Other merchandise is available for purchase at whitneychewston.com.
“We’re going to use Whitney and her identity as a newfound LGBTQ icon to raise awareness to special causes that support the community.”
5 fun facts about Whitney Chewston:
1. She loves romaine lettuce!
“Any time you make a salad, she goes insane because she has to have a bite,” Hickman says.
2. She has her own Netflix account because she likes to watch cartoons.
3. Her 6th birthday is coming up on Sept. 08, 2022!
4. Her favorite dog toys are a White Paw, which resembles a White Claw Hard Seltzer, and a plush, squeaky carrot.
5. Her owners have favorite memes of her. Campbell’s favorite is the “pack it up skittles squad” meme while Hickman’s favorite is the original “not too fond of gay people” meme