There is a real connection between the LGBT world and the vegan community, say two gay vegan bloggers from Colorado, the Gay Vegans. They feel that as both aspects are pushing away from what has historically been considered “normal” they are met with numerous challenges, but their stalwart belief in justice has helped maintain their push toward change and teaching.
For these Colorado natives, being gay and vegan has become their world. They blog, write and discuss all things vegan, with a little gay prism thrown in there. Leading the Mountain region’s vegan discussion, these two guys are helping to change how vegan and gay work together.
429Magazine sat down with them to discuss all things vegan and gay.
429Magazine: What came first, being out and gay or out and vegan?
The Gay Vegans: We both were already out of the closet when we became vegan. “¨”¨
429Mag: Your blog has become successful and quite popular. What do you attribute this success to?
TGV: I appreciate that comment. We have loved adding a voice to the blogging community, a voice that attempts to build bridges between different activist communities while spreading the messages of compassion, tolerance and equality. There are some amazing blogs out there that have a focus on LGBTQ issues, vegan food delights and big city living. Our blog brings our readers into the simple, everyday life of a gay, married, vegan couple living in the suburbs and what that looks in regards to equality, activism and veganism.
I would also like to say that we are huge on asking our readers to take an action, whether it is contacting an elected representative or writing a letter to the local police chief about having officers trained in dealing with dogs that have gotten loose (due to a couple of recent dog shootings by police in the Denver-metro area).
Our readers have hugely supported this. We get a lot of comments about readers being appreciative of our being non-judgmental and honoring that everyone is on their own path, that we are simply sharing our path.”¨”¨
429Mag: Do you think there is a connection between being vegan and being gay in today’s society (i.e. both go against the norm?)
TGV: Since both seem completely natural to me I don’t get the going against the norm part. I believe there is a connection in how society treats “the other”, and in our case we fit in a few of those categories, including being vegan and gay. I guess it is also easier taking flack from someone around being vegan because of all of the experiences I’ve had being unapologetically gay.”¨”¨
429Mag: Is there a natural link, in your view, to the activism of LGBT rights and that of vegan?
TGV: Sure. And lessons could be learned. I remember my time with Act UP and Queer Nation. The eyes were always on the prize and seldom did I ever see public fighting about ideas or ways to move forward. These discussions have to happen, but not in a way that threatens the overall mission. Thousands were dying and the activists during the most difficult years always acted as if their actions were around life and death.
Animal rights activists’ actions always center around life and death and sometimes that seems to be lost while disagreeing with others or fighting with other activists around personal opinions or actions. It is important for us to remember that our activism does not have to look like your activism.”¨”¨
429Mag: Why a vegan blog?
TGV: We both agree that we must be a voice for the voiceless, all of the voiceless. That includes the billions of animals who are tortured and live in fear just so people can enjoy a plate of food or be entertained at a circus. Being vegan is part of who we are and how we work towards doing the least harm possible while living out our lives.
We also are able to support those who are thinking about becoming vegan or are newly vegan. It’s so much easier in those early days to have folks who have been there on your side.
On a local level, the blog also supports people visiting Denver who want to eat vegan or shop vegan. We get to promote our favorite restaurants (Linger, Tarasco’s) and places to shop (Nooch Vegan market). Local readers also have told us that they enjoy reading about our favorite places to eat.
“¨”¨429Mag: Have you had any negative reactions from the gay community over the blog and your push to promote a better and more ethical eating style? Positives?
TGV: Definitely. And vice versa. Within the LGBTQ communities are large leather groups and rodeo-supporting groups. Some in these groups would rather just say “F— Off” than have a conversation around animal cruelty. The leather community has made huge changes in the last ten years, for sure more open to animal cruelty discussions than those in the gay rodeo community. Positives have been that there are thousands of gay, vegan people around the world, and we had no idea.
Not just in the big cities but all over. We get to hear their stories and incorporate them into the blog. I would also say that a big positive is that we have been able to support people in becoming more politically active and voicing their opinions to those who represent them in their state capital or in DC.
On the vegan end, there is still bigotry towards LGBTQ people. We don’t get much of this from the blog but when we are out and about. It is common to hear “that’s so gay” at vegan events and it is not uncommon to hear the word “fag”, especially in social media. Like many activist communities there are religious extremists present who actively support the spiritual genocide of gay and lesbian people. Openly gay, married people (especially guys) still freak out some, and the vegan/animal rights community is just as prone to that as others. Something we have been asked more than once from animal activists is why we spend so much time on equality. Of course this question is usually from a married, heterosexual person.
It’s important for me to say that of the thousands of comments, emails, FaceBook and Twitter notes that we have received in almost two years of the blog that 99% have been positive and supportive and most people simply thank us.