Don't Be a "Closet Vegan". Be an Activist Vegan. - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 07-29-2015, 08:52 PM
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Don't Be a "Closet Vegan". Be an Activist Vegan.

Vegans should not be "closet vegans" to non-vegans. Simply being a vegan is being complacent. One should be an activist vegan as well. A person should be able to know you are a vegan the minute they meet you--and you don't even have to say anything.

Something Very Simple

People should automatically know you are vegan right away. Wear a T-shirt, button, necklace, etc. proudly showing you are vegan. When people know you are vegan, they may want to ask you questions, have concerns, etc. giving you a chance to answer them. Or who knows, you may meet a fellow vegan this way.

Obviously, you may not be able to wear vegan items everywhere you go, like maybe at work; just wear them wherever you can. Simply wearing something vegan is also good for shy vegans.

In other words, don't be a "closet vegan". Just being a vegan is great, but to speed things up to help more animals, we need to speak out more about animal rights.
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#2 Old 07-29-2015, 11:32 PM
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Being a closet vegan is actually fantastic - because unlike being gay or being an atheist, it just has to come out when food is around. And, when it comes out, almost by accident, you appear to be so secure, calm and nonjudgemental in your demeanor, which actually subtly goes to work on people's self-esteem. By being argumentative, you're being defensive before there's anything to be defensive about. You're also basically telling people "I know what I'm talking about, you don't, and that means that I'm better than you." That's basically what you're telling someone every time that you have an argument.

Changing people's beliefs is a matter of understanding and working around their underlying psychology.
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#3 Old 07-30-2015, 02:58 AM
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I do a little of each. I wear vegan T shirts to large events or to the fitness center. I have leafleted high schools and colleges. I have worked with grocery stores and the director of the medical complex where I work to get vegan recipes and items incorporated into the menu. I have brought vegan homemade food to work events, family get togethers etc. I have gone to places like the Humane Society or more progressive stores and left vegan literature with them to share with employees and customers. I have signed petitions and posted vegan messages on Facebook. I helped protest a few things like the Minnesota Wolf Hunt. I raised money for and participated in Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals. I have donated vegan books to the library and vegan magazines to the fitness center, laundromat, medical clinics. I have also donated food to food shelves, made food for homeless people and gave it to them, donated to organizations etc.

Most often though I am a quiet vegan just going about my day making conscious decisions in most areas of my life about how to live compassionately with each action. I don't always announce it to the world, or make it known on every occasion. There is a time and place for that, and being too pushy can really backfire. I am also an introvert and quite shy in real life and I need a break from it sometimes. I think people who are vegan without being activists about it are still doing something very important for the world and should never be told they aren't doing enough. They are doing far more than the other 98% of the world population.

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#4 Old 07-30-2015, 03:30 AM
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I agree with ya.
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#5 Old 10-12-2015, 09:43 AM
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I am currently planning to start a vegan advocacy organization at my high school, and the first activity I am planning to advocate veganism is to do a sale of vegan cinnamon rolls to try to show people that living cruelty-free can be effortless. If I do get a group of people into my organization, I plan to set vegan food into meetings for other organizations, such as the NHS. One of my goals for this group is to get it to sympathize with my school's animal shelter club due to the fact that animal lovers make the best vegans. Something I share with Naturebound is that I am rather shy - as well as very reserved and introspective - offline, and my shyness makes it very hard for me to show my emotions.
Coincidentally, I ordered a vegan T - Shirt from veganessentials.com a couple of days ago and it feels like the first step towards advocacy for me. I still fear for my safety within high school when I see plenty of corrupted/horrible students; however, so I still feel stuck... Does anyone think my goals for my club are efficient?
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#6 Old 10-12-2015, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jek the Immortal View Post
I am currently planning to start a vegan advocacy organization at my high school, and the first activity I am planning to advocate veganism is to do a sale of vegan cinnamon rolls to try to show people that living cruelty-free can be effortless. If I do get a group of people into my organization, I plan to set vegan food into meetings for other organizations, such as the NHS. One of my goals for this group is to get it to sympathize with my school's animal shelter club due to the fact that animal lovers make the best vegans. Something I share with Naturebound is that I am rather shy - as well as very reserved and introspective - offline, and my shyness makes it very hard for me to show my emotions.
Coincidentally, I ordered a vegan T - Shirt from veganessentials.com a couple of days ago and it feels like the first step towards advocacy for me. I still fear for my safety within high school when I see plenty of corrupted/horrible students; however, so I still feel stuck... Does anyone think my goals for my club are efficient?
Jek, I think your idea is great! Especially trying to get the animal shelter club members involved. If you have an environmental club, you could look there for new members, too. Your group will likely start out slowly, don't worry. You may start something that will continue after your graduation for students in the future. Good going!

Edited to add: And pass me one of those vegan cinnamon rolls!
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#7 Old 10-12-2015, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Jek the Immortal View Post
I am currently planning to start a vegan advocacy organization at my high school, and the first activity I am planning to advocate veganism is to do a sale of vegan cinnamon rolls to try to show people that living cruelty-free can be effortless. If I do get a group of people into my organization, I plan to set vegan food into meetings for other organizations, such as the NHS. One of my goals for this group is to get it to sympathize with my school's animal shelter club due to the fact that animal lovers make the best vegans. Something I share with Naturebound is that I am rather shy - as well as very reserved and introspective - offline, and my shyness makes it very hard for me to show my emotions.
Coincidentally, I ordered a vegan T - Shirt from veganessentials.com a couple of days ago and it feels like the first step towards advocacy for me. I still fear for my safety within high school when I see plenty of corrupted/horrible students; however, so I still feel stuck... Does anyone think my goals for my club are efficient?
I too think this is a great idea! You'd be surprised at how many young people are really interested when they learn about veganism. I leafleted a few high schools in my city and teenagers seemed far more interested than when I leafleted adults downtown during rush hour after work. If you can find someone to provide support, help, and encouragement it would be much easier! I volunteered through Vegan Outreach and had lots of phone support when I had questions, even if I couldn't find anyone locally to help me. A few times my sister came along with me on leafleting adventures and my omnivore husband even helped out once and those times made it easier. I even brought my dog to one high school to leaflet the city streets nearby and it provided a way to talk to students and get their attention.

I would often read common arguments against veganism and how to respond and it helped my confidence level too, as I am not the most spontaneous person. Just being honest and speaking from what you believe in is great. You don't have to be an expert. I always tried to stay positive and not criticize others for being meat eaters. Not that I am a confrontational person at all! I remember the hardest thing for me to do was table at the college of St Scholastica. I had called ahead and reserved a booth in the student Union. I was a nervous wreck! But I brought along homemade banana mini muffins and that really helped break the ice. Food is a great way to draw people in lol. Seriously!

I think you have some tremendous courage and compassion to do what you are planning to do! I know how hard it is to put yourself out there when you are introverted, reserved, shy. You will feel so good once you get the ball rolling and try it. Even if it doesn't take off, there is nothing to lose by trying! I wish you the best and hope you report back!
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#8 Old 10-12-2015, 06:26 PM
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I think there is a some great middle place between being "closeted" (which implies that you keep your veganism totally secret from most or all people) and wearing clothes or accessories that advertise your veganism. I think it's important to show people that vegans and veganism are "normal." Wearing buttons is not exactly going to give off a "normal" vibe. I tell people I am vegan whenever it is relevant, but I don't feel that it's necessary for them to know it within seconds of meeting me. I'd rather they learn I'm vegan after they've already realized that I'm a sane, rational, and thoughtful person. I think that sends a stronger message than a button or a T-shirt.
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#9 Old 10-12-2015, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
Jek, I think your idea is great! Especially trying to get the animal shelter club members involved. If you have an environmental club, you could look there for new members, too. Your group will likely start out slowly, don't worry. You may start something that will continue after your graduation for students in the future. Good going!

Edited to add: And pass me one of those vegan cinnamon rolls!
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I too think this is a great idea! You'd be surprised at how many young people are really interested when they learn about veganism. I leafleted a few high schools in my city and teenagers seemed far more interested than when I leafleted adults downtown during rush hour after work. If you can find someone to provide support, help, and encouragement it would be much easier! I volunteered through Vegan Outreach and had lots of phone support when I had questions, even if I couldn't find anyone locally to help me. A few times my sister came along with me on leafleting adventures and my omnivore husband even helped out once and those times made it easier. I even brought my dog to one high school to leaflet the city streets nearby and it provided a way to talk to students and get their attention.

I would often read common arguments against veganism and how to respond and it helped my confidence level too, as I am not the most spontaneous person. Just being honest and speaking from what you believe in is great. You don't have to be an expert. I always tried to stay positive and not criticize others for being meat eaters. Not that I am a confrontational person at all! I remember the hardest thing for me to do was table at the college of St Scholastica. I had called ahead and reserved a booth in the student Union. I was a nervous wreck! But I brought along homemade banana mini muffins and that really helped break the ice. Food is a great way to draw people in lol. Seriously!

I think you have some tremendous courage and compassion to do what you are planning to do! I know how hard it is to put yourself out there when you are introverted, reserved, shy. You will feel so good once you get the ball rolling and try it. Even if it doesn't take off, there is nothing to lose by trying! I wish you the best and hope you report back!


You two get me ecstatic! I have many thanks to give, for I didn't know how efficient this idea of mine would be. Not that I have started the club yet because of the fact that this is Columbus Day and studying for the PSAT has kept me from cooking anything for a long duration of time... But I can feel my courage grow due to the fact that there IS an environmental club in my high school as well... I think my temperament will only allow me to go slow at first, but I won't give up as far as I can tell...
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#10 Old 10-13-2015, 01:59 PM
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I have another question about this. In the time I have known one of my very best friends, I would say he is trustworthy enough to where he actually tried to be vegan despite the rule of his parents... He said his parents did not allow him to get anything vegan from the store and I secretly HATE his parents for that. I don't know how I can help with this situation. (He did go on to elaborate on how he tried to cook his own vegan food despite the will of his parents, rather than them cooking for him...)
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#11 Old 10-13-2015, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by LorriePaige View Post
Vegans should not be "closet vegans" to non-vegans. Simply being a vegan is being complacent. One should be an activist vegan as well. A person should be able to know you are a vegan the minute they meet you--and you don't even have to say anything.

Something Very Simple

People should automatically know you are vegan right away. Wear a T-shirt, button, necklace, etc. proudly showing you are vegan. When people know you are vegan, they may want to ask you questions, have concerns, etc. giving you a chance to answer them. Or who knows, you may meet a fellow vegan this way.

Obviously, you may not be able to wear vegan items everywhere you go, like maybe at work; just wear them wherever you can. Simply wearing something vegan is also good for shy vegans.

In other words, don't be a "closet vegan". Just being a vegan is great, but to speed things up to help more animals, we need to speak out more about animal rights.

Good viewpoint, but def not the only one. it takes all types.

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#12 Old 10-13-2015, 03:09 PM
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I have another question about this. In the time I have known one of my very best friends, I would say he is trustworthy enough to where he actually tried to be vegan despite the rule of his parents... He said his parents did not allow him to get anything vegan from the store and I secretly HATE his parents for that. I don't know how I can help with this situation. (He did go on to elaborate on how he tried to cook his own vegan food despite the will of his parents, rather than them cooking for him...)
If he attends your school, maybe he could help you with the Vegan Club. You can help him by giving him resources on HOW to go vegan--what to eat, how to cook it, talking to parents, etc.

Vegan outreach has some great info, some very graphic (careful, school might flip out) and some informative with recipes etc
http://veganoutreach.org/booklet-pdfs/
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#13 Old 10-18-2015, 04:04 PM
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I agree because I would never have become vegan if it wasn't for a girl in my class who always talked about being a vegan. It made me think about it quite a lot. I used to think she was annoying, then realized that I felt guilty, and finally became vegan. Sometimes it's the people in your direct life that influence you the most. Celebrities and famous activist groups seem so far away from our everyday lives, that it's almost as if we live in two separate worlds. Letting people know you're vegan is a good thing, but be careful because you might meet hostile people. That's the only thing is you have to protect yourself from aggressive people.
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#14 Old 10-19-2015, 10:24 AM
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I think vegans should be whatever kind of vegan works for them. Some people are great communicators on vegan issues and have been vegan long enough to be very well educated in responses and the science behind certain things, or their own philosophical worldview.

Others aren't. Some poeple prefer to make their own decisions and be on about their way. That's good too.

You know what is bad for veganism? Angry outspoken vegans who are bad communicators.

Many think being a good example is enough, and it is for them. As people grow and learn they may change their minds about how they want their veganism to interact in their social world, and all vegans should feel empowered to exist wherever they're at.

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#15 Old 10-21-2015, 05:23 PM
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I think vegans should be whatever kind of vegan works for them. Some people are great communicators on vegan issues and have been vegan long enough to be very well educated in responses and the science behind certain things, or their own philosophical worldview.

Others aren't. Some poeple prefer to make their own decisions and be on about their way. That's good too.

You know what is bad for veganism? Angry outspoken vegans who are bad communicators.

Many think being a good example is enough, and it is for them. As people grow and learn they may change their minds about how they want their veganism to interact in their social world, and all vegans should feel empowered to exist wherever they're at.

Whenever people try to get me to stop being vegan, I get so mad that I only know what to say after the argument is over. I don't know how to deal with such a situation.
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#16 Old 10-21-2015, 06:40 PM
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letting everyone and their mother know that you are a vegan isn't a good way to convert people. you gotta be their friend first before you start talking about your morality. people get turned off by being constantly talked to about it, they feel like they're being pushed, which will always turn them off psychologically. i prefer to take a more middle of the road approach. i will tell people i'm vegan if they ask why i'm not participating in the carnism, and if they have any further questions, they can consult me. if they don't want to talk about it, that's cool too. i'm not here to shove morality down anyone's throats, because it's an ineffective way and can often alienate you and yourself. i think the best way to convert people is by showing them awesome vegan food, talking about the issues if they express interest, and just being a nice and compassionate person living your life. activism isn't for me, and it's not a 24/7 necessity. there is a time and place to talk about the injustices in the world, and there's a time and a place to not. veganism is a very sensitive topic for a lot of people, and we have to respect their sensitivities if we ever want to get through to anyone at all.
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#17 Old 10-22-2015, 04:48 AM
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Whenever people try to get me to stop being vegan, I get so mad that I only know what to say after the argument is over. I don't know how to deal with such a situation.
I hate the brilliance of hindsight responses!

Whenever someone confronts you on ANY personal choice that doesnt hurt yourself or others, tell them that you are capable of making your own decisions, and this is a choice you're making now.

If they persist, as many will, tell them that you're doing you, they should do them.

That goes so beyond veganism. I will never understand the impulse of some people to act like they have any say at all in the life choices of others.
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#18 Old 10-22-2015, 05:00 PM
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I disagree. There is a time for advocating but it's not all the time. Two people played a large part in my choice to go vegetarian both of them are extremely non judgemental and you wouldn't even know they were vegetarians without eating a meal with them. Somehow that made it easier to take the plunge
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#19 Old 10-22-2015, 05:33 PM
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I'm all about activism as long as it has some muscle behind it. I can't stand hippy type, sign holding, chanting, get-nowhere activism...all that does is annoy people and set yourself up for being made fun of.

I am a bit more extreme than others in everything I do, so of course I will rep vegan the same way. Call it whatever, but after 32 years as a human, and around countless other humans, I'm just over the whole socially or politically correct thing. Humans suck, let them know it!

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#20 Old 01-12-2017, 12:04 AM
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Being a closet vegan is actually fantastic - because unlike being gay or being an atheist, it just has to come out when food is around. And, when it comes out, almost by accident, you appear to be so secure, calm and nonjudgemental in your demeanor, which actually subtly goes to work on people's self-esteem. By being argumentative, you're being defensive before there's anything to be defensive about. You're also basically telling people "I know what I'm talking about, you don't, and that means that I'm better than you." That's basically what you're telling someone every time that you have an argument.

Changing people's beliefs is a matter of understanding and working around their underlying psychology.
No. This just sounds like you like the idea of personal purity or feeling superior. By being a closeted vegan, you're actually sending the message that you think your beliefs are only right for you and that you are tolerant of animal product consumption. What you are imagining is sending the message you know what you're talking about, suggests to most people that you simply think veganism is a personal preference, like having a favorite color or is an ethnic quirk, like eating kosher as a Jew. Honestly, I think vegans who talk like you are delusional and self absorbed, that you really are vegan so you can be "different."

I mean I'm glad you're vegan, but I don't encourage this mindset. My first exposure to veganism was an acquaintance in high school wearing an old Meat is Murder tee shirt once a week and I would have given anything to have had support from open vegans in my early 20s when I failed after a few months at my first attempt, after visiting the PETA website.

New and young vegans get enough bull**** and discouragement from almost everyone they know. The last thing they need is some smug older vegan telling them they feel superior when they say nothing.
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#21 Old 01-12-2017, 12:36 AM
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I have another question about this. In the time I have known one of my very best friends, I would say he is trustworthy enough to where he actually tried to be vegan despite the rule of his parents... He said his parents did not allow him to get anything vegan from the store and I secretly HATE his parents for that. I don't know how I can help with this situation. (He did go on to elaborate on how he tried to cook his own vegan food despite the will of his parents, rather than them cooking for him...)
Authoritarian parents are the worst. I would have been vegetarian from early childhood and was essentially forced to eat meat through manipulation, threats, bartering and even one vivid incident where I wasn't allowed to get up from the dinner table until I surreptitiously fed my hamburger to the dog. This gave me disordered eating later in life although I was gradually allowed to choose vegetarian foods starting in middle school, I doubt veganism would have ever been ok. I remember doing things like eating bran flakes with orange juice instead of milk in high school, it's tragic when parents are this way.

That's why I think activism really matters. People actively socially condition their children that if they don't eat meat they'll die. One of the most interesting pieces Ive seen and heard, because it may or may not have been intentional but addressed the elephant in the living room, is the slaughter house train and meat grinder, and the words "how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat" in Pink Floyd's The Wall, because there's so much child abuse in that film.

There's probably nothing you can do. Maybe your friend can be a lacto vegetarian at home and eat vegan meals at school or with you.
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#22 Old 01-12-2017, 01:06 AM
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In regards to the OP: I think I mostly agree with you but it is important to remember context, like you say, work isn't the place for it and neither is screaming at strangers in Panera Bread, but even shy or introverted vegans can wear tee shirts or put buttons on their backpack.

I actually get angry when vegans tell other vegans to be quiet - like great, so you're not a murderer. You want a prize for not being a murderer but allowing other people to do it without doing ANYTHING at all?

Sometimes I think people lose touch with what it's about. The personal purity angle is self serving.
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#23 Old 01-12-2017, 01:15 PM
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I think vegans should be whatever kind of vegan works for them. Some people are great communicators on vegan issues and have been vegan long enough to be very well educated in responses and the science behind certain things, or their own philosophical worldview.

Others aren't. Some poeple prefer to make their own decisions and be on about their way. That's good too.

You know what is bad for veganism? Angry outspoken vegans who are bad communicators.

Many think being a good example is enough, and it is for them. As people grow and learn they may change their minds about how they want their veganism to interact in their social world, and all vegans should feel empowered to exist wherever they're at.
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#24 Old 01-14-2017, 02:14 AM
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I do volunteer work for a vegan organisation (I run their twitter account) so I do my activism through my computer.

That is because I have a chronic illness and am not able to go to activist gatherings most of the time, and this way I can stand up for the animals regardless.

I am to the point and uncensored with opinion for my job, but I keep my opinions more subtle and inviting for the omnis around me. I have noticed that they respond well too a kinder approach, and I have had two tell me they went vegetarian because of me this year so I pretty pleased. It is a start.

So I have found a middle ground between activism and quiet veganism, I try to lead mainly through example and so far it seems to be going well.
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#25 Old 01-14-2017, 04:45 PM
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I don't think there should be just one type of vegan. Veganism is for everyone!
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#26 Old 01-15-2017, 10:26 AM
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I do volunteer work for a vegan organisation (I run their twitter account) so I do my activism through my computer.

That is because I have a chronic illness and am not able to go to activist gatherings most of the time, and this way I can stand up for the animals regardless.

I am to the point and uncensored with opinion for my job, but I keep my opinions more subtle and inviting for the omnis around me. I have noticed that they respond well too a kinder approach, and I have had two tell me they went vegetarian because of me this year so I pretty pleased. It is a start.

So I have found a middle ground between activism and quiet veganism, I try to lead mainly through example and so far it seems to be going well.
Great for you, well done, and good comment, and good thread.
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#27 Old 01-15-2017, 06:19 PM
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I'm a vegan activist - I attend protests, write letters to the editor of my paper when animal issues arise, and have been active in local and online veg*n groups for many years. That being said, I am never in anyone's face about it unless they actively choose to engage me. If they do choose to question my actions, motives or the practically of my lifestyle or make excuses as to why they cannot do the same, then they risk getting much more information about the ethics behind my way of life than they bargained for. I do not back down on this subject.
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It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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