Home » Health, Pride
13 June 2008, 5:35 pm 8 Comments

Pride: Gay and Vegan Pride – One and the Same


This post was submitted by Sergio, a vegan queer and (sometime) hipster in Adams Morgan troubled by his inclination to procrastinate.

I became a vegetarian at about the same time I came out. Or maybe I came out at the same time I became a vegetarian. You see, for me, the two were the result of the same wrenching soul searching and part of the same eye-opening process after which right became wrong, and wrong became right. Boiled down to a simple sentence, I came out at the other end feeling that it was perfectly natural to be gay, and it’s perfectly natural to question how we treat non-humans.

There is a growing number of personal stories like mine – of coming out as queer and coming out as a veg’n (vegetarian/vegan) in a world, where, sadly the non-veg’n/non-queer majority see both as “aberrant” choices. The same society whose media and general public refuses to face the well-documented and extremely violent images of how factory farm animals are housed, transported, and slaughtered is the very same society that continues to deny queer folks full rights and treat them as less than human. The question that we should be asking about the two movements –animal rights and gay rights- should not be, “What is the connection?” but instead, “What is the difference?”

After cracking open the closet door (by coming out before me), my best friend at the time handed me a copy of Carol Adams’ “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” a crucial book that links the prevalence of a meat-based diet to patriarchal attitudes, compares the myths about meat-eating with the myths about manliness, and ultimately highlights the commonality of all oppressed in a patriarchal society – women, ethnic and sexual minorities, and non-human animals. The latter, in fact, is part of long-standing current among artistic, literary, and intellectual movements whose aim is to bring about radical change. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley made her Creature (a natural outcast/outlaw if there ever was one) a vegetarian. Shelley was part of the Romantics, a movement of artists, writers and intellectuals in the latter part of the 18th century in Western Europe that questioned the status quo of the time.

Many people with whom I’ve spoken feel that having experienced oppression as a queer person makes them more likely to be compassionate toward animals. However, if we can cultivate compassion more readily than the mainstream, how can we explain that to those who don’t make the connection?

Just as more queer folks begin to draw comparisons between the two movements, a number of animal rights organizations are starting to reach out to the GLTB community. A couple of years ago, the animal welfare group, Mercy for Animals, marched in the Columbus, OH Gay Pride Parade, forming a human rainbow with colorful t-shirts that read, “No one is free when others are oppressed.” This Pride weekend, I and a couple of friends will be manning the table of Compassion Over Killing during the Sunday street festival. Compassion Over Killing is a local vegetarian advocacy non-profit that does fantastic work on behalf of animals in factory farms. Check them out at www.cok.net. Consider stopping by our booth to say hi, ask tons of questions, and pick up some brochures. My hope is that COK (yeah, yeah, insert your favorite double entendre here) can crack open the veg’n door for a few of you just like others before did it for me.


First time here? See what we're all about... Get involved... Send us a tip!...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

8 Comments »

  • Living Foods said:

    90% raw foodist/ vegan/ queer. ( i practice a 10 percent margin of error).. we should start a biweekly potluck. let me know your thoughts.

  • Parker said:

    amen. i too came out and quit meat at the same time. it was the natural thing to do. i get shit for saying things like this, but what is the difference between someone telling you you’re worthless because of who you fuck or telling you you’re worthless because you would be delicious murdered, fileted, grilled, and served with a baked potato?

  • Sergio said:

    Those of you interested in networking with other queer vegans, check out DC Vegan Dinner Club on Facebook. New vegan picnic coming up soon. Check it out.

  • smergio said:

    my brother was convinced that the only latinos that were vegan were gay. since that statement ive proved him wrong quite a few times. i do feel vegans have a lot of pride. i used to be friends with a lot of militant vegans and felt like they gave me shit for not making the same choices they did when it came to their food. this was when we were younger and everybody is cooled down and i still am friends with mostly vegans. to me it was always up to my mother what was being cooked and it was also cultural thing. i come from a background that thinks meat should be in everything. my family looks at you like youre crazy if you even think about being vegetarian. so im sure thats why my brother made the gay vegan connection, because gay people already feel like outcasts for who they sleep with so why not try going against the other cultural norms.

  • Raphael said:

    I don’t really see any connection other than that both are part of your identity. And both are targets of derision from mainstream America. But, by that measure, so is being a hillbilly.

    Frankly, I think it undermines both causes to conflate the two.

    If you think that queer liberation requires people to become vegetarian, or that to spread vegetarianism people should become queer, you will never change a single mind.

  • Raphael said:

    Clarification: I don’t mean to imply that the writer is a hillbilly!

  • Anonymous said:

    How do you not see the connection, Raphael? He said it outright: “Many people with whom I’ve spoken feel that having experienced oppression as a queer person makes them more likely to be compassionate toward animals.”

    If you are part of a minority group that has suffered at the hands of others, you know what it’s like and want to end suffering. All of it. Racists beating up non-white folks. Homophobes murdering queers. Humans killing and abusing animals. It’s all the same. And if you’ve been hurt in some way your eyes are open to others’ pain.

    Pretty simple connection…

  • Matt said:

    Brilliant! I am gay and a new vegan and have been thinking a lot about this issue of marginalization of people and issues. In the eyes of American culture I have two strikes against me. I’m vegan and gay. One more strike, and I’ll most likely be voted off the continent, if not the planet.

    Now I need to find a partner who lets compassion guide his eating choices!

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.