Vegan for Their Health, Not Mine

Thoughts from a long-term vegan

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Scotty and Magnolia, bovine residents of VINE Sanctuary, July 2018. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Content notes: Weight, suicidal ideation

Happy Solstice — Summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter in the Southern — to my readers.

For Pride Month, I was recently interviewed by Hope Bohanec for a podcast episode on “Trans Vegan Voices”.

I was flattered to be asked, as I haven’t been active in vegan or animal rights activism lately. But veganism is one of my most important values, as a constant expression of my commitment to non-violence. As I note in the podcast, Ahimsa — Sanskrit for “do no harm” — is literally my middle name. This applies to animals of all species, including humans, whose penchant for deadly violence is much in the news lately.

One of the first questions usually asked of me by non-vegans is “How long have you been vegan?”, often followed by “How do you feel?” While I’m fine answering the former — roughly eleven years to date— I don’t take any particular pride in that number; I don’t celebrate “veganniversaries” or anything like that.

The question of how I feel presupposes, to me, that I stopped eating animal products for health reasons. This is not the case. Over the past eleven years, my health has ranged from excellent to mediocre, my weight (on a 5' 4" frame) from 113 to 176 pounds, my waist circumference from 26 to 37 inches. My mood over those years has ranged from relatively happy to suicidal, tilting more often toward the latter as a lifelong sufferer of clinical…

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch