Do Vegans Really Need a Pride Parade?
A Facebook event for 'London's first vegan pride parade' has popped up this week, leading a lot of people in the community to question, do we really need this, and do we have the right to use the term 'Pride'? A hint: we don't.
From the outside this looks like insensitive privileged vegans having no understanding of others' experiences, oppression and the wider societal issues at playhere. But it's even more than that, as people are reporting that their comments speaking against the event are being deleted from the Facebook page.
The event, hosted by 'Go Vegan - London' has received a number of comments from people calling out the problems with calling this event a 'Pride parade' and many have reportedly been deleted.
The upcoming 'first vegan pride parade' in London in July 2018 is not the first of its kind worldwide. Veggie Prides have been held in cities such as Chicago, LA, New York, Milan, Prague, Birmingham and the first in Paris in 2001.
So what is the problem with having a 'Vegan Pride'?
The definition of pride parades and events are to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex culture.
Pride parades were born out of the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969, an attempted police raid at gay bar The Stonewall Inn that sparked days of riots and marked a turning point in gay rights and liberation. Marches were held in June 1970 around the United States, developing into pride parades that are held worldwide to this day.
It's important to remember that Pride events are held as a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community, and many also hold a bigger political theme or form of activism through the event. In less accepting cities Pride parades are a form of activism in themselves, and historically pride parades have called for equal rights, for legal protection, for marriage equality, for LGBTQIA+ education and many more real issues that affect and often endanger this community.
The problem here is appropriation, and the use of the word 'Pride.' Pride is the term used for LGBTQIA+ Pride, it always has been, and using it in another context is an insensitive appropriation of it. People were up in arms when a group of straight people decided they wanted to have 'Straight Pride', so now we need vegans to stand up to anyone in our community thinking that 'Vegan Pride' is a good idea.
What is the point?
The Facebook event page states: "We will parade through the heart of London this Summertime in Vegan Style! Let's do this and show London our wonderful vegan colours!" (Vegan colours, like the rainbow pride flag, really?)
I can't help but wonder what the point of this event is. Is it to celebrate vegans? To congratulate ourselves for being vegan? To show everyone our vegan glory? Because if it is, then it's all about us, and there's something big missing there. Vegans are not the ones that need to fight for their rights and equality. Veganism isn't about us. It's about the animals, and it's about the planet, it's not about us.
Vegans as a group do not suffer under systematic oppression. Vegans (as far as we know) have not been marginalised, assaulted or killed for being vegan.
If this is to promote veganism as a lifestyle then go for it - just don't call it a 'Pride' parade.
Want to express your opinions on the parade? You can contact the event organisers here.
UPDATE: [09/01/2018, 5.20pm] The event organisers have now changed the event name to 'Vegan For Life Parade London'. They commented on the name update, posting "Vegan For Life 👍". No further comments or statements from the organisers, 'Go Vegan - London', have been made.
UPDATE: [09/01/2018, 9.30pm]
Event organisers 'Go Vegan - London' have commented the following on the event page.
We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to all communities and individuals concerning the previous naming and date of this event.
Our original plan was to do a vegan version of the veggie pride for this summer in London. The last thing we wanted to do is create any confusion or conflict. We are hoping that our recent changes to the name and date has alleviated these concerns.
The main goal of this event is to bring people together to introduce veganism to others in Central London in a positive and inspiring way.
Much peace and huge respect all ✌🏻