Robot Hugs - Scale of harm

Dear marginalized vegans: You are enough

[Image: Section from a panel of a Robot Hugs comic. Words at the top read “No one benefits from being told that their pain is unimportant, or non existant [sic]!” Below the words is a scale with a lighter weight reading “Not Harm” and a heavier weight reading “Harm.”]

This post is addressed to vegans who are marginalized due to their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, or other factors. This post primarily concerns vegans currently living in the USA.

In light of certain animal rights disruptions in the news, you might be feeling pressured to “do something” for the animals. You might be reading that having vegan potlucks and the like without committing to activism is being selfish and ineffective. You might be reading that our fellow animals suffer more than any humans do, so whatever your personal situation, you have a responsibility to fight for animal rights.

You might be hearing this from any or all of the following:

The list goes on and on, but you get the picture.

As a queer black trans vegan who suffers from significant depression and dysphoria, I am here to tell you this:

You are enough.

You are enough if all you can do is have a vegan potluck.

You are enough if all you can do is buy prepared vegan meals from a non-vegan restaurant or supermarket.

You are enough if all you can do is share photos of farmed animals on social media.

You are enough if all you can do  is cuddle with your companion animals.

You are enough if all you can do is get out of bed in the morning.

If you can do more than this, great. But the fact that some marginalized vegans are able to be activists for the animals does not obligate you to do so.

It’s a violent world out there. Let’s take care of each other.

15 thoughts on “Dear marginalized vegans: You are enough”

  1. Thanks, Pax. I think this is a very important message, though I also see clearly why mainstream animal advocacy groups would be afraid to say anything like this. They put that pressure on you because A) (The Good Reason) They’re desperate for the sake of nonhuman animals, and really believe every single person needs to be out shouting and marching in the streets in order to save them, and/or B) (The Selfish Reason) They’re desperate to recruit people to *their specific* organization and promote *their specific* brand as much as possible, so if their brand does X, guess what they’re going to say everyone has to do? Why, X, of course!

    Self-care is important, and appreciating different types of advocacy (not to mention the various forms of advocacy going on *before we were born*) is also important. I also think it’s a mistake to assume that one strategy is always, consistently 100% The Best One. I’ve seen good strategies used in very bad ways, and have been surprised to see methods I didn’t think would work– or even ones that usually don’t work– yield positive results.

    1. I don’t think there’s a good reason to put extra pressure on people. Being a marginalized vegan is enough. To me, that’s the point of this post.

  2. This is a lovely post. While I do think we should do whatever it is that is in our power to do to the best of our ability, it is important to remember that appearances aren’t always what they seem, and you never know what someone is going through. As vegans, we feel a lot of pressure to stop suffering and we need to support each other. Who else will, if it isn’t fellow vegans/AR people?

  3. This made me cry. Sometimes I’m made to feel guilty for not doing more (I can’t aspire even to the vegan potluck, just feeding myself at all is often more than I can handle). I was never the running and jumping over fences to sab fox hunts type anyway. It’s great to read an article that understands that we ALL do as much as we’re able and expresses so beautifully why we have to accept each other’s limitations without judgment.

  4. No one has to be an activist and no one is obligated either. I totally agree. People who say everyone is an activist has no idea the struggles other people face. It’s an unfair thing to say.

  5. Beautiful! thank you for the love that emanates from this post. What you say her cannot be said enough! Thanks. I am holding you close in my heart.

  6. Thanks for writing this. I feel it too. I think if all everyone did was privately go vegan, the world as it currently is would change overnight. Being vegan is enough. My previous activism cost me everything.

Comments are closed.