It’s Pride Month, so it’s time to ask ourselves the important question: do vegans outside of the LGBTQIA+* community owe allyship to people within the community? In short: of course they do, and here’s why…
For some people, veganism and Pride might seem like unrelated issues – they might think, “what does the wellbeing of animals have to do with LGBTQIA+ rights?” Of course, there are many LGBTQIA+ members of the vegan community (myself included!) but these two socio-political issues have far more in common than you may assume.
What is the purpose of veganism?
According to The Vegan Society, veganism can be defined as:
“...a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose...”
In short, the purpose of veganism is to reduce harm and suffering whilst fighting for the collective liberation of all animals. Of course, this definition is typically understood in reference to non-human animals, but what about the human animals that suffer at the hands of unjust laws, outdated societal standards, and cruel practices? It’s safe to say that the LGBTQIA+ community, along with many other marginalised groups, are frequently persecuted in a way that the vegan philosophy seeks to exclude.
How does this relate to LGBTQIA+ people?
Because of their mission to reduce harm and suffering, it seems obvious that the vegan community would act as firm allies for LGBTQIA+ people globally. After all, both veganism and LGBTQIA+ identities disrupt the status quo by acting in a way that is defiant towards traditional social standards. Vegans can be seen as ‘outsiders’ by some, as they refuse to participate in dietary or lifestyle activities that cause harm to animals. Similarly, LGBTQIA+ people are viewed as ‘outsiders’ since they differ from cisgender and heterosexual norms.
But even though these experiences are both part of a person’s identity, it is crucial to remember that only one of these is a choice. While vegans have decided to take a moral and political stance against the unjust treatment of other beings, LGBTQIA+ people were born into their identity with no say in the matter.
Do vegans owe allyship to the LGBTQIA+ community?
Vegans who align themselves with the definition provided by The Vegan Society already acknowledge that their veganism extends further than the foods they eat. Although ‘plant-based’ diets are becoming more popular, these ‘vegans for health’ are missing an important factor – the motivation of social justice that fuels many ‘ethical vegans’.
Ethical veganism overtly includes both non-human and human animals within its philosophy of harm reduction and collective liberation. It is obvious that the fight for justice does not end with nonhuman animals: it clearly extends to encompass a range of social and political issues that are impacting marginalised communities across the globe. These vegans engage in activism to challenge issues such as systemic racism, food inequity, and climate change.
For these reasons, choosing a vegan lifestyle is a choice to defend and support all communities that are subjected to harm – this undoubtedly includes taking a stand against the ongoing oppression of global LGBTQIA+ communities.
Why does the LGBTQIA+ community need support?
Worldwide, LGBTQIA+ people are subjected to unequal treatment, persecution, and oppression. As of 2022, same-sex relationships are still criminalised in over 70 countries, and only 31 countries allow same-sex marriages.
According to the LGBTQIA+ organisation, Stonewall, fewer than half (46%) of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and (47%) transgender people in the UK are able to be open to their family members about their sexuality or gender identity.
A devastating 64% of LGBTQIA+ people reported experiencing homophobic abuse or violence, and half of LGBTQIA+ students in schools hear homophobic slurs 'frequently' or 'often'.
Most recently, many news outlets have been reporting on the British government’s refusal to ban conversion therapy for transgender people. This practice, which is widely condemned by LGBTQIA+ communities, aims to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity. This can be attempted via talking therapy, but people have reported experiencing exorcisms, abuse, violence, and starvation as psychological tactics.
Even though Pride month appears to be a celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, it is crucial to remember that the parades and events throughout June are also a protest against the global injustices faced by the community. Now, more than ever, it is vital to encompass LGBTQIA+ people in your vegan activism, and support this community all year long.
How can you show your support?
LGBTQIA+ vegans need your allyship this Pride month – and all year round. Here are some easy steps you can take to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community:
- Engage in local and national politics to support LGBTQIA+ people
- Donate to a LGBTQIA-led vegan sanctuary
- Support LGBTQIA+ vegan business owners
- Keep vegan restaurants and businesses safe spaces
- Include LGBTQIA+ people in your activism
This piece was written by Marisa Green. Marisa is a queer, vegan writer, and co-creator of @vegancruzes on Instagram and TikTok.
*List of terms (Source):
L = Lesbian
G = Gay
B = Bi-sexual/romantic/sensual umbrella
T = Trans including Non-binary people, if they wish
Q = Queer or Questioning, anyone who is reclaiming the term Queer, or Questioning their own sex, gender or sexuality in any way
I = Intersex and Intergender people, if they wish
A = A-sexual/-romantic/-sensual spectrum people
+ = Others who are under the expansive umbrella
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.