Over at Vegan Soapbox, Eccentric Vegan has written about how vegans can more easily get along with non-vegans by lying about their reasons for being vegan, making up allergies, and calling themselves a vegetarian rather than a vegan. Apparently, by following said advice, you can become a non-confrontational vegan and make friends with non-vegans. Here is the comment I left on the site, which I wanted to share here:
I disagree with you. No vegan should ever have to “play nice” or apologize about being vegan. Vegans should be proud of who they are and what they are doing for animals. So don’t say it’s just for health or the environment, don’t call yourself a vegetarian instead of a vegan, and don’t lie about having an allergy. The only way veganism will ever be taken seriously is if people learn what veganism is about. Animal rights is a social cause just like any other: the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement. If activists of either of those causes had been apologetic nothing would’ve gotten done. We’re well on our way to a more vegan-friendly world, it’s just going to take time.
It isn’t hard to get along with non-vegans. I didn’t meet another vegan until the second semester of my freshman year of college. Almost everyone I know eats meat. If someone is not willing to accept your lifestyle, then instead of trying to make things work, just forget about them. The best thing to do is just be honest about who you are, even if there are non-vegans who will ridicule you. I’ve realized that most people don’t mean to be stand-offish about my veganism, they’re just curious, especially if I’m the first vegan they’ve ever met.
I really think this is terrible advice. A vegan, or any other activist of any movement, should never be expected to step down just because someone opposes them. I would never hide my veganism, because it’s incredibly important to me and I want people to understand what veganism means and my reasons.
Does anyone else have any opinions on this topic?
May 1, 2009 at 2:44 am
I agree… vegans should be proud of being vegan, and should never hide, excuse, or lie about their reasons for being vegan. Anytime I’m asked why I’m vegan, the first reason I give is that I think it’s wrong to kill and exploit animals for our tastebuds and convenience. To be vegan is to be an activist for animals. Hiding your veganism or lying about being vegan does nothing for the animals, and sends a signal that there’s something wrong with being vegan. You might as well tell homosexuals they should stay in the closet in order to better get along with homophobes.
May 1, 2009 at 5:30 am
no reason to say you are sorry or excuse yourself. this is something to be proud of!
May 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm
I agree. Vegans should not be be afraid to express their opinions just because some non-vegans might give them a hard time.
I’ve found some really good advice and info on Vegan Soapbox. This one post is an exception.
May 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm
Kudos to you for that comment, Karmalily!I have never seen veganism as something to be apologetic about. It is one of my choices — perhaps THE choice– that I am most proud of. Our food habits are our way of showing the world that eating well without cruelty is very possible. Making excuses for being vegan defeats the whole purpose.
June 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm
You’re right!!! You should never be afraid to express who you are, or apologize for your values. Like you said: A vegan, or any other activist of any movement, should never be expected to step down just because someone opposes them.
Anyways, you don’t see that many meat-eaters going around apologizing for every piece of flesh they eat.
Anyways, a few of my friends launched a vegetarian dating site, so for all the vegans, vegetarians and raw foodists out there, you can find lots of amazing animal-loving people here: http://www.singlevegetarians.com/