VWPA Advice #009: How Do I “Come Out” as Vegan?
How Should I Go About Revealing That I’m Vegan?
When I do want to tell someone I’m vegan, how should I do it? What should I say? How do I make it not-awkward?
I out myself as vegan pretty early on in every interaction, usually unintentionally. Veganism is such a big part of my life, it’s hard for it not to come up right away. Sometimes I actually play a fun little game with myself to see if I can manage to NOT tell someone during an interaction (like, with a cashier or someone else who I probably won’t see again), haha.
So, I’m a bit biased but I think the best way to tell someone is quickly and casually. Find a way to work it into the conversation where it isn’t this weird, formal declaration.
For example, I used to run a book club for a vegan Meetup group, and so I would bring up the book club to the person I was talking to, as in, “I run a book club for my Meetup group” which would allow them to ask what kind of book club it was and then I could say it was a vegan book club for ladies. If you have an activity that revolves around your veganism (like having a blog or a podcast!), mention it early on and let them ask questions to help you bring up your veganism without you having to forcibly introduce it into the conversation.
Usually after saying the “v-word” I will follow it up with something positive and then switch the subject back to them. People are so afraid vegans will try to lecture or convert them, I find it’s very useful to let them know you are a happy vegan but then immediately take the focus off yourself. So, for example:
Me: “My podcast? It’s about veganism. My podcast partner and I are both vegan so the show is us having deep discussions on vegan issues. It’s been surreal and amazing to start the podcast and watch it grow, I’m absolutely in-love it! So, what do you do in your spare time? Have any burning passions that keep you awake at night? Any big dreams?”
I know that not everyone has a blog or podcast or book club, so if you don’t have any hobbies to help lubricate the conversation, simply find a way to say that you’re vegan (“Mm, I can’t eat that, I’m vegan, but thank you!”). After you find a way to slip veganism into the conversation, typically someone will say back, “You’re vegan!? For how long?” Respond with how long you’ve been vegan and how it makes you happy or how good it makes you feel, and then switch the conversation back to the other person.
A lot of people will get all carnist-splainy after hearing you’re vegan, which is why the immediate topic switch back to them and their lives can be a good tactic. I personally get extremely annoyed when someone launches into, “Vegan?! Oh cool! I would be vegan but you know…bacon, haha. I mean, I know that it’s bad what happens to the animals but…” UGH.
So, save them and yourself by keeping the conversation light and about other topics. If you both need to delve into your veganism, you can do it on another day/time. This gives the person a chance to see that you are still a human, and that you can have a whole conversation about other things without lecturing or using conversion tactics on them, and it prevents you from having to deal with frustrating carnist questions/statements early on in a relationship or interaction.