When most of us still ate other animals we had a specific vision of what a vegan looks like.
A typical vegan we imagined was probably a straight white woman, who identified as a hippy and resented the thought of war. We saw her as someone who is against medicine, anti-capitalist, and someone whose hobby is protesting with a big sign that talks about love and rainbows.
Of course, actually living this lifestyle and getting to know like-minded people showed that that was not necessarily the case yet this actually is how an average vegan looks and thinks like.
Bear in mind, this is my observation, not a fact-based on statistics of any sorts, but can you disagree?
How many non-white vegans do you see represented in the vegan community? How many Conservative or Libertarian vegans do you know of? How many atheists and sceptics that are vegan can you count?
The truth is, there are not many vegans that are not your stereotypical plant-eater.
That’s okay as I think everyone should live more ethical and moral lives. But it is difficult to bring more people to the point of realization of what they support if they don’t see themselves represented in the community.
Honestly, I don’t even want to use the word community for this exact reason.
How much of a community are we if anti-vaxxers and New Age hippies who share scary conspiratorial and socialist ideas are the ones who run the biggest vegan platforms and shame anyone who thinks differently?
I often check out pages that spread the latest news about animal rights, veganism and environmentalism, and feel like I just cannot fit the new vegan label they keep changing. Do I have to be a feminist to be a real vegan? Do I need to be a socialist to be able to call myself compassionate?
Where is the fucking line?
Since I hate to just complain without offering solutions, here is how to make veganism more inclusive to all people:
- Give a platform to minorities.
By minorities, I mean in the context of veganism. Conservatives, atheists, people who are not white, those are all in a minority when compared to who vegans are on average. If you have a chance, interview them or share their compassionate words with others. Don’t pretend they don’t exist or are not vegan enough just because they are not a stereotype. We have to change the appearance of an average vegan so that in the future, we don’t actually know who the average is because it’s so inclusive and diverse.
- Don’t shame those who you disagree with politically or ethically.
A few years ago I shared a quote by Douglas Murray about immigration. A few hours later I had a man writing essays in the comment section and in my DMs about how I am not a real vegan. In his eyes, unless I supported open borders I was not a kind person that I pretended to be. It was the first time I was called fake for expressing an opinion on something that was in no way related to animal rights at all. Don’t be like that man.
- Keep yourself in check.
In short, keep yourself from becoming a harmful vegan who supports the idea that veganism is about human-related issues as well. It’s not. Anyone can be vegan and that’s the truth.
I am tired of the definition of veganism getting smaller and smaller among, quite a lot of actually, vegans.
This behaviour is so, so harmful to other animals because they need everyone to fight for their rights. They don’t need your snowflake ass thinking you are better than others and can, therefore, humiliate them by denying their ethical stance.
You have no right to tell someone they are not vegan if they are. You have no right to deny someone’s experience and what they feel.
I said it so many times but I will repeat: You can only not be vegan enough if you are not vegan. I wrote about that in this post here.
Don’t be a dick and stop thinking you are better than those you disagree with. Everyone is just trying to do their best – give them a break.