Dear Vegans, We Need to Stop Shaming Each Other

A vegan for seven years, I’ve been on the receiving end of some less-than-flattering comments. “If you’re a vegan, why are you fat?” “Please don’t tell people you’re vegan. Then they’ll think we’re all fat.”

Not only have I been vegan for seven years, I’ve actively fought for animals for eight (including the one year I was vegetarian). And admittedly, hearing fellow vegan activists remark about my weight has kept me up nights. Some comments have even pushed me to the edge of leaving the movement. But if I did that, the ones who would really lose out are the animals.

There’s this stereotype among some people that a vegan should always be in shape, never be sick, love green juices, and go to yoga every morning. Well, I’m here to tell you that we don’t all fit into that mold. (And for the record, I really hate yoga.)

Our movement is based on compassion. That should leave no room for tearing people down because of their looks. Instead we should build each other up and accept each other. We should have each other’s backs.

Simply put, we should not shame each other. Ever.

We need to stop because if we don’t, we’ll alienate vegans like me who don’t fit this perfect body concept. We need to stop or we’ll scare away someone who wants to be part of our community but doesn’t think they’ll “fit in.” But most importantly, we need to stop because shaming each other does nothing to help suffering animals.

The people in this movement come in all shapes and sizes, all ethnicities, and all health scenarios. Each time we encounter another vegan, we need to keep that in mind. Regardless of why someone became vegan, we should applaud them for doing their part every day to end senseless animal torture.

We are up against enough cruelty in this world. We don’t need to be up against each other's.