As someone who is far from being a vegan stereotype, I had to learn pretty quickly that I will have a hard time fitting in with the rest of the community.
I faced backlash when I spoke out about my views on immigration and free-speech, I lost followers when I dared to go outside of the vegan box and soon I started feeling afraid that I might never grow my blog if I don’t tone it down.
But then I had to remind myself that I’m not vegan for the people or for the community. I’m not a blogger because I want to write about things that everyone else writes about. I want to stand for justice and free-speech and equality. I am vegan because I care.
I’m vegan because I care about innocent beings whose bodies are abused and experimented on. I am vegan because I believe all lives are equally valuable and deserve to be protected.
I’m not vegan because I want to fit in and be a vegan others think I should be. I’m never going to be an average vegan’s cup of tea and that’s okay. I’m not doing this for you, sweetie.
You shouldn’t care either. If you don’t check all the boxes other vegans want you to, that’s okay. It really is, because life is not about playing the part in someone else’s movie. Life is about being the star of whatever story you are writing and making your own rules.
I promise you there are people who will accept you and have vegan picnics with you. I have faith that both of us will find our group of vegans to connect with, but we should know that veganism is not about having friends, it’s about standing up for what is right.
I wrote about how to deal with your non-supportive friends before, but I feel like this movement lacks the courage to talk about the non-supportive vegans.
You have no idea how many times I read popular vegan websites and felt like I am not represented. It was all pandering to people who are what you would expect a vegan to be – socialist, spiritual and afraid of vaccines.
Where are those of us who are in the centre? Those of us who defend free-speech and aren’t afraid to speak up about the problems you aren’t really hearing due to censorship? We don’t exist in the vegan community, because we are too offensive and too mean.
But that’s okay, you know. We shouldn’t lead moral lives for other people. We should do it for those who are oppressed and abused and murdered.
Despite all of that, I hope you have the courage to continue wearing the vegan label proudly and representing the values we need in our society. I know I will.
p.s. – Listen to this beautiful episode from the Food For Thought Podcast where Colleen talks about this exact issue.