Thirteen years vegan

Thirteen years ago today, while I was still living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just south of Los Gatos, California, and still working toward my master’s degree,[1] I drove up to a vegan sandwich shop in Oakland, not far from the Oakland Tribune building. And I tried a sandwich.

Faux meat was good, I decided. I, who hated vegetables, who thought green is the color of decay, could go vegan. And so I did. That very evening.

It was, I thought, compatible with my anarchism, extending an ethic of non-domination to non-human animals. This, indeed, is at the core of vegetarian ecofeminism and animal rights theory, which treat our relations with the environment and with non-human animals as indistinguishable from our relations with each other.[2] If human animals cannot be property, then so, too, it must be with non-human animals.

Which makes this really very easy:

I responded,

It is likely my most “liked” post ever. People seem to have thought this response clever,[3] even “[b]rilliant.”[4] But really, it isn’t. It’s simply the answer that probably any vegetarian ecofeminist or animal rights theorist would offer.

One responded,

This does not actually respond to my reply, so seems to me be poorly placed in the thread, but another responded,

Certainly, there’s truth to that.

Yet another had earlier responded,

And well, yeah, that’s been an ongoing problem for twenty years now,[5] longer, in fact, than I’ve been vegan. Although having worked (briefly) for a capitalist libertarian vegan, and having encountered others of at least similar persuasion, I would say I have been “outed,” as if I was keeping any of this a secret, not as a leftist, although I rather obviously am and vegetarian ecofeminism rather obviously is, but as a vegan—which might be worse.[6]

I still see my fellow vegans fending off trolls on Twitter. They pay a very high price for their advocacy and deserve applause for their dedication. I only occasionally participate, where I think I can offer a unique, or at least relatively unique, contribution.

I live in Pittsburgh now, where it’s much harder to be vegan than in California. But I still eat a lot of fake meat (also nuts and fruits). (Try not to notice when I eat a vegetable.) Oh yeah, and I’m still vegan.

  1. [1]In Speech Communication, at California State University, East Bay. I’ve since earned a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University.
  2. [2]Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, II, eds. Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? (New York: Lantern 2004); Greta Gaard, “Vegetarian Ecofeminism: A Review Essay,” Frontiers 23, no. 3 (2002): 117-146.
  3. [3]Tusbear, “Fascinating and excellent response, I think. . . .” Twitter, May 4, 2021,
  4. [4]ziska, Twitter, May 4, 2021,
  5. [5]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,
  6. [6]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Sacked vegan brings landmark discrimination case,” January 2, 2020,; George Reynolds, “Why do people hate vegans?” Guardian, October 25, 2019,; Telegraph, “Veganism is a philosophical belief and is therefore protected by law, judge rules,” January 3, 2020,

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