26; vegan 4 years; hometown Petaluma, CA
“I used to want to change when and how I came out. I wanted to go back to when I was 13 or 14 or 15 or 16 and be honest with myself. If I stopped trying to be someone else earlier, maybe I would have figured myself out sooner. But now that time has passed, I know everything happened just the way it was supposed to.
“Being queer is what has always made me different. Sometimes only I could detect the difference, sometimes others made the differences clear. As my worldview grew, so did the examples I had seen of what “queer” could look like. I never related to the image of “woman” or the image of “queer” that was presented to me as a child and throughout adolescence. If I’m not this, and I’m not that, what am I?
“To finally be honest with myself and with others was not easy. Likewise, it was not easy to defy the cultural norms of food that surrounded me. To deny gifts of food or offerings of flesh or fur felt like a personal middle finger to those they came from. Being queer was about me. Being vegan was about everyone else.
“I took steps toward vegetarianism and thought that was it, the change I needed. Then I met my wife and her amazing group of friends. They showed me what it was like to really be vegan. To not see it as food anymore. What going out to eat, grocery shopping, parties, all of it would look like with this new lens. They also showed me that being queer can look and feel so many ways. I get to decide what it looks like and feels like for me.
“It would be so easy to be like everyone else, wouldn’t it? No. It wouldn’t, and it wasn’t.”