My Parents Were Cool When I Came Out as Gay. But Then I Told Them I Was Vegan…
I’m one of the lucky ones. When I came out to my parents as gay years ago, they were totally cool. “We just want you to be happy,” is what my mother said to me. I’ve never taken for granted the love and acceptance I received knowing that so many of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters are not as fortunate.
When I told my parents I had decided to become a vegan it was… well, let’s just say it didn’t go as smoothly. My father especially went a little overboard (par for the course for him), telling me I’d lived in California too long and that I’d joined a cult! Yeah.
While being LGBTQ is not a choice, ditching meat, dairy, and eggs is. And it’s an informed and compassionate choice I made after learning the horrific realities farmed animals endure before they become our food.
But sometimes our families and friends take a moment to get on board. To me it felt a little like I was “coming out” all over again. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years to ease your family into understanding your decision to stop eating meat, dairy, and eggs:
- The most crucial thing is to try to explain to your loved ones why this is important to you without expecting them to be convinced or changed. Give them time to process your decision. They’ll come around.
- Don’t judge. Remember that most of us grew up eating meat.
Just because your friends and family may not decide to go vegan with you doesn’t mean they’re not the same people you’ve loved your whole life.
- Make it easy. Offer to cook if you’re still living at home or invited to a family dinner. Perhaps bring a dish that everyone can enjoy!
And inform your family of all the incredible and widely available meat substitutes and dishes they already like that are vegan or easily made vegan.
- Listen to them. If your family has concerns over your health,
for example, share with them all you’ve learned about how eating vegan is great for you. This website is a great resource.
- Finally, be a role model. Remember that just by being the vegan in the family, you are setting a wonderful example.