I had to look for certain definitions in order to understand where this thing I’m experiencing fits.
I know prejudice is violence. But what exactly is microagression? What is bullying?
I’m a woman, I’ve felt the male dominated society in many ways, catcalling on the street, a harassing male boss at work, living in a certain state of mind that doesn’t allow me to be comfortable enough to even stretch my arms over my head in public afraid to be looked at as if what I’m doing if for the pleasured eyes of men, and more. Terrible. But that is not actually what my main issue is about right now.
You see, I’m a vegan. I fight every day for the liberation of animals from oppression, from unnecessary exploitation, from all that pain and suffering they have to go through because of our belief systems, so that their status of property is changed into one where we recognize their right to freedom to not be considered things.
My problems seem so little compared to what all the animals in this planet go trough in the hands of humans.
5 years ago I decided to never again use and abuse an animal. I vowed to protect them, to respect them and to educate others so that they too could realize the truth of what we are doing to the animals and how we can change for the better. When I learned about veganism I felt happy for finding out this amazing truth, I also felt very sad because what we do to the other animals is disgusting and cruel, I felt ashamed for being a human being. My first instinct was that I wanted to share this with everyone I know, I thought everyone would be as open as I was; I imagined everyone changing the moment I exposed to them the chance to make things rights! The reaction I received was far from this.
I started with my vegan advocacy on social media, what better way to connect with others in many languages, in many countries, reaching so many people at the same time, while in the commodity of our devices? This gives us space to think and learn, to re-learn. Veganism is actually a win-win situation for everyone, what could possibly go wrong?
From day one I started to receive insults. I noticed people were very defensive. I have always been polite, I always share facts (not opinions, not beliefs) but that didn’t stopped people from calling me extremist, terrorist, crazy, dogmatic, etc. People who I even considered my friends. That didn’t stopped me, I continued with my advocacy work. First the insults were isolated cases, but years have passed and the name-calling and prejudices are on the rise and they are starting to affect me. I started by telling you about certain things I’ve experienced as a woman but by far what I have experienced as a vegan has shocked me even more. All that hate. I think to myself, ok they don’t care about the animals, but they don’t even care for their fellow human beings. That’s hard to swallow.
There are even tags on tumblr like fuck vegans and vegans are annoying. I had to stop defending animals on reddit because of the trolls.
It bothers me. The prejudices. The violence.
I started my advocacy in english because there are more animal rights resources in this language, but my mother tongue is spanish. Now that there is more vegan information in spanish, you guessed it, the prejudices and insults are now in spanish too.
I don’t know what to think about this. I know I feel terrible, there is little information on this particular experience for vegans. I’ve read of cases where vegans get fired from jobs because they expose the truth about the dairy industry. Animal rights activists are being persecuted. In Spain, several animal rights activists from Animal Equality were unjustly accused of offences they did not commit, as a result of their extensive investigations into the Spanish fur industry.
Have you heard of the Ag-gag term? According to Wikipedia: it is used to describe a class of anti-whistleblower laws in the United States that apply within the agriculture industry. The term “ag-gag” typically refers to state laws that forbid the act of undercover filming or photography of activity on farms without the consent of their owner. Supporters of ag-gag laws have argued that they serve to protect the agriculture industry from the negative repercussions of exposés by whistleblowers. The proliferation of ag-gag laws have been criticized by various groups, arguing that the laws are intended primarily to censor animal rights abuses by the agriculture industry from the public, create a chilling effect in reporting these violations, and violate the right to freedom of speech.
Have you seen how sometimes vegans are portrayed in some media? Not very positive.
Is this stereotype threat? I think it is, and it needs to stop.
My anxiety has reached the highest in my more that 30 years of life and it is because of this. What is THIS? What name shall I use? What term?
Not only do vegans get to see the rawness of how animals are abused and murdered every day ( because our work consists on exposing the truth), now we have to be on a defence mode to protect not only the animals but our integrity.
Vegan activists can get burned out, can suffer from second post-traumatic disorder, can suffer from compassion fatigue.
I can’t seem to find words that define this situation. But maybe you can. And maybe together we can raise awareness on the subject.
Recently Beyonce said: “First it’s important that you know I am not a vegan. There’s a negative stereotype. You picture someone who lives in Colorado that doesn’t wear deodorant.“
Guess what? Not all vegans are born in the United States. Not all vegans are white. Not all vegans are rich. Not all vegans are thin. Not all vegans.
Veganphobia is a thing now.
For all the vegans out there, thank you for what you do! Never forget that veganism is protected by international human rights law and that you’re entitled to basic respect from colleagues, bosses and peers. There is plenty you can do to ensure you receive this respect. Know your vegan rights.
From the International Vegan Rights Alliance:
“Veganism was recognised as a belief for the purposes of human rights legislation as far back as 1993. It is time to build on this and campaign for our rights as vegans.
Under the terms of the European Court of Human Rights all member states have a duty to prevent discrimination and under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty to eliminate inequalities.
What is outlawed:
Victimisation because you are vegan.
Harassment because you are vegan.
Unfair treatment as a result of being vegan.
Treatment that puts you at a disadvantage due to being vegan.
You are also protected from any unwanted conduct which:
Our rights in context
If your employer provides food, you have the right to request and receive vegan food. For example a “working lunch”.
If you require safety wear, you have the right to request and receive vegan alternatives to standard equipment made from the skin of other animals, where these are available and comply with required specifications.
You have the right not to be humiliated or have to cope with an offensive or degrading environment as a result of jokes or other remarks about veganism from your colleagues.
If your employer has a practice or policy which puts you at a disadvantage because you are vegan you have the right to request that the policy be amended. For example a common practice is the provision of a fridge, a microwave and other kitchen facilities for carnists. You have the right to request the provision of equipment for vegan use.
You have the right not to be treated unfairly or disadvantageously by any service provider because you are vegan. This includes the catering industry. You have the right to request vegan food where non vegan food is provided. This applies to hotels, airlines, trains, coaches, prisons, etc.
You have the right to request tailors to provide synthetic fabrics and materials.
You have the right to request vegan alternatives in any service provision context including the cosmetic industry.
Vegan for the animals!
For humanity, for the trees, for the water, for the air, for the minerals, for the planet!