Over the course of a few days this blog had over 1.3K visitors thanks to all the shares, tweets and comments for my post "My Favorite Masculine Vegan has a Pussy." Vegansaurus also re-published the post. A number of people have published pieces with references to my post including the fat gay vegan who writes, "It is clear that misogyny, sexism, homophobia and all forms of bigotry do not exist solely outside the vegan realm. We need to actively resist the attempts to use tools of divisive language and imagery to sell veganism."
Challenging Single-Issue Activism
Activist and author Mickey Z writes about the danger of single-issue activism noting, "Sadly and ironically, AR [animal rights] activism—even the Francione branch—epitomizes single-issueism as the vast majority of the movement is white, middle class, and virtually agnostic when it comes to challenging human-to-human forms of oppression." An aspect of this conversation around masculinity and veganism I neglected to include in my original post is race. It's hard to refute the point Mickey Z makes regarding the face of veganism today as white and middle class. Dr. A. Breeze Harper, creater of the Sistah Vegan Project, has now turned to black masculinity, veganism and ethical culture for her next book which she gave a lecture about in May you can watch online.
Much frustration arises out of single-issue activism in all political movements. Women of color in the reproductive rights movement have raised their voices against the erasure of their contribution to the work of the movement. Some queer activists are disturbed to see so much focus by the movement devoted to fighting for the right to marry while neglecting the arguably more pressing needs for the community such as homeless LGBTQ youth.
Most vegans are familiar with the criticism that vegans should be more concerned with human rights than animal rights. But spending much of your time advocating for one political issue doesn't mean you aren't concerned or aware of other ethical issues and I wrote about how my experience doing feminist and LGBTQ activism has informed the intersectional movement work I do today in an earlier post.
Addressing the oversights and shortcomings that arise out of single-issues activism requires we listen and change, a process that can be uncomfortable and humbling. We as a movement must encourage and allow one another to grow past our perspective and become a more inclusive space to create larger and more meaningful ethical change in this global society for each other and for the animals.