Sometimes I wish people didn’t know I’m vegan. I’m being honest.
I wish I could just not exploit other animals but without having a new identity to wear on my forehead. Because that’s how it feels sometimes to be vegan.
I have to be a certain way and do certain things and say certain words. I just have to be someone who fits the vegan criteria.
I get told that I am bad because I am not a feminist and because I like Sam Harris and because I quote Douglas Murray and because I call out anti-vaxxers. It’s like everything else matters EXCEPT what I do as a vegan activist.
I sometimes just want to drop the vegan label and say I am plant-based. But that would indicate that I only eat plants but I exploit animals in other ways, so that’s not what I should do.
What to do, what to do.
I think the road I want to start exploring in the future is the one where I share how to be compassionate towards other animals but not use the word vegan to describe this lifestyle. To just basically be a decent human but without the attachment to a movement that can be quite toxic sometimes.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau talked about a similar concept in this episode of her wonderful podcast Food For Thought.
She said that we overuse the word vegan when talking about food and places. Vegan restaurant, vegan milk, vegan this, vegan that… We get it, it is vegan. Enough.
It’s like we are afraid of being called out if we make a mistake of not naming something vegan. But not called out by people who eat animals, oh no, we are afraid of being called out by other vegans.
We judge those who are plant-based and those who take pills that are tested on animals but still call themselves vegan – we are just waiting for someone to not be vegan enough (I wrote more about that here).
Yes, trillions of non-human animals are being murdered every single year. Yes, as I write this millions are having their throats cut. This is a reality; there is no denying of that. But how much progress can we make if we look at each other and think others are never vegan enough?
There are people who want to make progress. People whose heart is big and whose intentions are pure, but just like any Homo sapiens, they are flawed. And we prey on them, waiting for their inevitable fall so we can feed on their mistakes and feel better about our own perfection.
But perfection doesn’t exist. Progress, on the other hand, does.
Progress means just that: to make progress – one step at a time. To slowly move forward.
Some people will go vegan overnight, others will take 5 years, some won’t ever go vegan but will eat mainly plant-based etc. The focus should not be on bullying those who are not like us, but about helping those who do want to be fully vegan and on working with those who are not there yet.
And what does it even mean to be there? Aren’t we all improving every day? Aren’t we all still learning?
Can you be a real vegan only if you are a socialist, anti-vaxxer who doesn’t buy anything with palm oil and white sugar? The definition is getting stricter while vegans as a group are getting smaller. Or at least in the eyes of people who think a Republican pro-gun capitalist is the equivalent of a White Supremacist and can, therefore, never be vegan.
To those vegans I say PISS OFF.
Who died and made you king?
The world would be a much better place if people stopped looking at identities and focused on the results we could be getting as a group. Because at the end of the day, when a bunch of people walk away from vegan activism because they are being bullied on a daily basis, the blood of murdered pigs will be on the hands of vegan bullies.
Animals don’t care about labels, titles and identities, they just care that we don’t pay someone to take away their lives.