Friday, December 28, 2012

Tiny actions that change the world

I was thinking of writing a post about resolutions for the new year. Then I decided that there are plenty of those out there. I have a few things I want to look at in 2013, and one of them is asking our readers to take simple, small actions that can change the world.

In the 1 1/2 years since I started the blog I have honestly been blown away by the action our readers take when I write about an issue or ask them to do something. It started with Meatless Mondays when over 1000 people were touched by our readers in deciding to not eat meat on a Monday. I have also been beyond thrilled when someone writes to me and tells me that they discovered who their state representative is and that they made a connection. The list could go on and on.

So for 2013 I'd like you all to join Mike and I in doing, or continuing to do, small acts that are huge in their affect.

If you are in a relationship, go for a walk with your beloved. Hold hands. Just the two of you. No companion animals. Our actions for change should start in our own lives.

Check out your local shelter and ask if you can volunteer. Clean cages, walk dogs, cuddle with cats. In some shelters there is a specific room for cats with FIV, which is basically HIV for cats. They are tougher to adopt. All three of my cats had FIV. Hanging out in the FIV cat room rocks.

Find out who your state representative is and connect with them. They are your voice in your state capital. Whatever your big issues are, they might be voting on one of them in 2013. Make sure your voice is heard. Go here to find them:

Have a vegan potluck at your home. A Sunday brunch would be awesome. We have done this, with mostly non-vegans attending, and the food is ALWAYS delish and everyone ALWAYS has a wonderful time. My favorite brunch item for potlucks is Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Banana Rabanada French Toast in her "Vegan Brunch" cookbook. Page 102! Mmmm.

While on the topic of making vegan food, make a vegan baked good and bring it to work to share. This can be huge. My whole office has a different concept around vegan food because of what Mike (and I at times!) have made for the office. It's great to see people go from "I don't think I'll like this" to "Holy cow!" in a matter of seconds.

Make a donation to a non-profit that is a voice for the animals. There are SO many to choose from. Some local, some national. I always like to start out by talking about making local change. There is an animal shelter close to everyone. $25.00 can go a long way. It's important for me to financially support those doing the work in being the voice for the voiceless. It's not always cheap.

I think this is a great start. Will you join us?

Thanks for reading! If you would like to communicate with me other than posting a comment my personal email is

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Chicago Diner

 If you are connected to us on Facebook or Twitter, there is no doubt that you must have seen all of my check-ins to the Chicago Diner over the past week. When in Chicago, it is where I go. I have been going for over ten years now and still LOVE it.

The original Chicago Diner is on Halstead in Boys Town, just a couple blocks north and east of the red line Belmont station. Now there is a new Chicago Diner over in Logan Square, just three blocks from the blue line California station.

The names reflects the food: diner food. Not all vegan but I am pretty sure that every dish can be made vegan.

The highlight of every visit is the vegan chocolate peanut butter milkshake. I always start out with that. Now last night Mike got, per the server's recommendation, the chocolate chip cookie dough peanut butter shake and it was crazy good. I will get that next time.

Best dish: Chicken Fried Steak. Their vegan version of this dish is amazing, and filling. Lots of gravy and mashed potatoes and just enough veggies to make it a little healthy. I definitely say you should order this your first time.

They serve breakfast till 3pm every day. The Sammy is a good option. Basically a breakfast sandwich with house fries that actually taste good.

Ask your server. They will help. With all of the times I have dined at the diner I have not encountered the attitude that can be prevalent at veg or veg friendly places. Servers have always been kind, hospitable, and helpful. My faves as of this writing are Kristie at the Halstead location and Brian at the new location (he used to be at the original location). Kristie is a total love, we really adore her. And Brian is a sweetheart, honestly recommending items he loves and making you feel so welcome.

Whether you live in Chicago or are just visiting (or have a long layover at O'Hare) I highly recommend getting to know The Chicago Diner.

Thank for reading and buen provecho!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A few of our favorite things Part II

Part II of a two-part post!

It's that time of year again, when folks put out their "best of" lists. Last year we did a blog post on our favorite women and a blog post on our favorite men. This years' list includes many of our favorite things: people, groups, restaurants, etc. Like we did last year, we invite you to share some of your favorites with us!

And here's the rest of our list:

Chris Kluwe. He plays for the Minnesota Vikings, is way sexy and constantly speaks out for marriage equality. It is when people do what he does that makes me feel we will have full marriage equality one day.

Heather's Restaurant. I wrote a blog about this treasure in Bay City, Michigan. What a find. My mom lives near here and took us for lunch. We were blown away. HUGE selection of vegan dishes including desserts and cinnamon rolls!

Pussy Riot. Yes, you have most likely heard of this Russian all-female band whose members (two) are currently in a prison (actually I think it's a labor camp) all because of their peaceful expression of their beliefs, in a church. The church got mad. We love activists with courage and our reason for naming them here is to get more people to speak out against the injustice of their being imprisoned.

#tweetfortaiji. This is a symbol on Twitter for all of those speaking out for the dolphins being massacred in "the cove" in Japan.  I spend a lot of time thinking about the pods of dolphins being pushed into the cove and then being killed by hand. The fear, torture, cruelty and hopelessness as they try to survive breaks my heart. I will write a blog post soon in hopes of taking action against what is going on there.

Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. Kasha is the founder and executive director of Freedom and Roam Uganda, a leading LGBTQ rights organization. In Uganda. One of the most anti-gay countries in the world. If you see this Kasha, know we love you. And to all LGBTQ activists who live in harm's way, we are sending you love too.

The activist. Yep, we know you are out there. You work all day. In some cases you take care of your family and are a supportive other-half. And in the limited free time you have you are a voice for the voiceless. And you rock. We love you. And we get it. It's not always easy. Thank you.

Thank you for reading our list of a few of our favorite things. We could probably write at least two more posts. We encourage you to speak out for your favorites and to let folks who you think rock know that they do and how you feel.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A few of our favorite things

It's that time of year again, when folks put out their "best of" lists. Last year we did a blog post on our favorite women and a blog post on our favorite men. This years' list includes many of our favorite things: people, groups, restaurants, etc. Like we did last year, we invite you to share some of your favorites with us!

Here we go:

My husband. This is Dan writing this post (and pretty much all of the posts). I am totally in love with Mike and am grateful for every day that I get to be his husband. We have an incredible life together.

Linger. You must know by now that Linger is our favorite restaurant in town. Amazing vegan food and the best service in town. I could go on and on but you can just go to the blog post that I wrote a review on them. If you live in the Denver area and have not been to Linger, go.

Mercy For Animals. This animal rights group ROCKS it for the animals. Their undercover work in the past couple of years has brought the inside of factory farms to the local news. The brutality, torture and fear inflicted on sentient beings that all animal rights activists know about has been brought to a TV near you, to people who maybe thought this happened but now have the facts. We love them so much that this year we became members of the major giving club and are grateful to do so.

Malala Yousufzai. You have heard her story. She is a true inspiration. She is 15 years old and from Pakistan. She made headlines in the US when she was shot by the Taliban. She constantly speaks out for the rights of women, especially around education. Her courage blows us a way!

Voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. Heck yes! They all supported a ballot measure that was pro marriage equality. In Minnesota they voted down a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and in the others they actually approved gay marriage!

Tarascos. The best vegan Mexican food we have had. Amazingly friendly staff. They actually APPRECIATE customers. Imagine that!

Chicago. An amazing city filled with wonderful culture and super options for vegan cuisine. We like The Blackstone Hotel, the Chicago Diner, The Art Institute of Chicago, Naked Pizza and strolling around Boys Town.

Alka Chandna and Bruce Friedrich. When I think of this couple I think of love, inspiration and powerful voices for the voiceless. We are fortunate to count Alka and Bruce as friends, and our world is fortunate to have them here. 

Eat Pastry cookie dough. As much as Mike and I like to bake, we are still totally in love with this fabulous vegan cookie dough. If you haven't tried it yet, we suggest you do so right now! Many flavors. We like the chocolate with chocolate. Mmmmm. 

Amy's Mac n Cheese. The vegan version of course. This is a staple for me (Dan). Love it. The only thing I wish Amy would do is to offer larger portions of this, like in a party size!

That's it for now. Part II coming soon! Thank you for reading!

Monday, December 17, 2012

With love from The Gay Vegans

I am writing this post from the amazing city of Chicago. Mike and I are here for a week.

I have a couple of other posts ready to be published, posts that I wanted to publish before the holidays. They are our annual "best of" lists. Those can wait.

I have cried a lot since last Friday. Anytime there is a school shooting I think of my beautiful husband, an awesome teacher who has dedicated his life to teaching children how to play a string instrument. On Friday morning, with just very few details, I once again became angry and called my husband in tears. He was fine, hadn't even heard about it.

This post is to send love to all of our readers. This blog journey has been amazing for me and for us. I am constantly blown away by the support I get from our readers and by the stories that they share after reading a blog post.

Please know that I am grateful, and that I sending loads of love to you and your families.

The mission of my blog is to always try to build bridges, to spread love and compassion, and to be a voice for the voiceless.

Thank you for being a part of that. And thank you for doing all you do to make this world a better place for all living beings.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

The beginning of the end (Part III)

This is part three of a three-part blog series around alcoholism. I decided to write about alcoholism and my personal journey because I continue to see my communities affected by it, as well as addiction.

When one is consumed with self hatred and fear and has found that the only thing to help them deal with that is to drink (or do drugs) the thought of not drinking is equal to or more than the fear that already consumes you.

I first dealt with the terror of a life without alcohol when I was 18 and in an alcohol treatment center. It was bearable there. Like many treatment centers it was group therapy type things during the day and then trucked off to AA meetings at night. By the end of my time there I was convinced that I could live without a drink. By the evening of the day I got out of rehab I was drunk.

That was the last time I had attempted to not drink. Aside from the terror of thinking about not being able to drink for the rest of my life I also kept thinking that alcoholics were old people, not teenagers. I was sure I had many years ahead of me of drinking before I would have to look at not drinking.

Back to the end. I was sitting in a bar in Norfolk. I didn't know how I was all of a sudden drunk. I decided it was time to go back to base and could not find my car.

The next day was December 30th. I was excited as I had decided to try to quit smoking for the new year. A great resolution I thought. On the outside I was trying to hold everything together, and failing. My boss had brought up the fact that based on my military record, I should not even be drinking. I weighed 138 pounds at 6'3". To give you a good picture, I now weigh 198 pounds.

That evening I was at the enlisted bar on base. Simply Red's video was on the screen and I was settling in for a night of drinking with friends.

I don't know what happened. No, this time it wasn't a blackout or a lost car. It was me standing in front of a Navy alcohol rehab guy on base, a few blocks from the enlisted club, asking if he could tell me where the closest AA meeting was.

This was the end. Due to the "anonymous" part of Alcoholics Anonymous, I am not going to go into what happened after that. I will say that if you know me, you know that I am in recovery and that is something that I am not shy about sharing. I share about it in my daily life, on Facebook, at work and at social events. I share it because people who know me today (and did not know me when I drank) cannot possibly conceive the person I used to be.

I have not had a drink since that night.

Alcoholism kills people. It destroys families and relationships. It shows up in different ways. Some people drink daily. Others binge drink. Others only drink beer.

For more information on alcoholism and on Alcoholics Anonymous click here: 

I feel that it is important that I offer information about alcoholism after writing about it. There is indeed help for those who think they might be alcoholic. One does not have to die, kill someone in a car accident or live an entire life consumed with fear and disgust.

There you have it. If you have read one or more of this blog post series, I thank you. It is not easy sharing an ugly part of ones' life. I also appreciate the huge amount of love and support I have gotten from our readers.

If you would like to connect with me but do not want to share a public comment, my email address is

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another dead pit bull

If you live in the Denver area you might have heard of the part pit bull dog named Chloe who was shot five times by a Commerce City police person last week. A neighbor videotaped the shooting and from any aspect it looks like the shooting/killing was completely unnecessary.

The story was incredibly sad.

Pit bulls have a bad name in Colorado, not unlike many places around the country. In Denver, there is a ban on pit bulls. What this means is that hundreds of pit bulls have been killed in Denver and shelters outside of Denver are packed with pit bulls. And of course you can purchase pit bull puppies online on Craigs List.

In Lakewood, where Mike and I live, and just 1.5 miles from the Denver dead zone for pit bulls, they are safe. Our city council has talked about a ban and decided that the city and our citizens would be better off without a ban.

To be clear, I do not know a lot about BSL, or Breed Specific Legislation. I am not even sure if I have the correct words for BSL. I try to read what both sides have written regarding bans. For me, I get to see what happens because of a ban. I see many dogs killed for one reason only, that they are a pit bull, or one of the similar breeds. And then I see shelters around cities with a ban have many pit bulls for adoption, in some shelters pit bulls are more than half of available dogs for adoption. There is no way that all of them can survive in the shelter, so inevitably they are put down.

My history with pit bulls comes from Geronimo, our past next door neighbor. His head was bigger than all of our dogs except for Miguel. Geronimo LOVED playing with all of our dogs and would run the fence with them every day. He was a gentle lover. When our neighbor moved, I totally missed Geronimo.

I am one of those who believes that a companion dog acts a certain way because of how he or she is treated. I also believe that even if any companion dog is one who is uncomfortable around strangers, that their human companions can keep them and the strangers safe.

I look forward to the day when in Denver being a pit bull does not mean that their family has to move or a death sentence for the dog. How many more dogs will have to die before the powers that be realize that killing dogs is not the answer?

Meanwhile, I mourn with Chloe's family and anyone who loved her. Perhaps once she got out of her house that day she had no chance. And perhaps those of us who love pit bulls or who love dogs in general can change what is happening to a breed who gets a bad rap.

I don't have the answers. I'm just sick of seeing all of these beautiful dogs being killed.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The beginning of the end (Part II)

Just in case you did not read the first part of this series, these posts are about my end days in active alcoholism. I decided to finally write about this and walk through my fears of letting all of our readers know about this as I continually see alcoholism and addiction take it's toll on activist communities.

Christmas Eve I decided to drive to Midlothian, VA and go to a party held by old family friends. Midlothian is just west of Richmond, not too far of a drive from Norfolk.

The week prior had been full of activity as the largest naval base in the world filled up for the holidays. Many people were arriving on ships coming home for the holiday, including several friends of mine.

One was a guy I had met in treatment back in '84. We had stayed in touch even though he had stayed sober and I had not (I actually went and got drunk the night I got out of treatment). Matt was coming back from a short deployment and I decided to go meet his ship.

Seeing him for the first time since treatment was a shock for me. He had stayed sober, and looked the part. His huge grin and strong hug greeted me. His eyes were clear. He looked so, so healthy. I was blown away.

We were able to set a time to grab a bite to eat. As I nervously drank my pitcher of beer he caught me up on the past year since leaving rehab. I could not believe the change in him. What was clearly obvious was that he was happy. As he talked with me he constantly smiled. He was truly happy without alcohol.

Back to Christmas Eve. I spent a couple hours with family friends and enjoyed the wide variety of drinking options. As typical, I was soon drunk. There was a lot of drinking going on and I was right in the middle of it. I then decided it was time to go, and I climbed into my Chevy Citation to head back to Norfolk.

I woke up to a tapping on the window. The car window. I was cold. A nice looking guy was looking into my car. It took me a second to realize that he was a police officer. I rolled down my window. He immediately stepped back due to the stench coming out of my car. I had passed out, at some time had thrown up, had urinated on myself and for some reason he didn't like the smell.

As luck would have it I was parked in a bank parking lot. I had to move. I apologized. I didn't recognize where I was. Richmond? No, the handsome officer said. I was in Madison Heights, way WEST of Richmond, like more than an hour. I had the left the party to drive 1 1/2 hours EAST to get back to Norfolk. I have no idea how I ended up in Madison Heights and I had no memory of anything after the party.

The officer told me about a YMCA where I could wash up and mentioned a local meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. As if, I thought.

I went to a gas station, washed up, grabbed a bottle of Boones Farm wine (my favorite) and started the drive back to Norfolk.

I felt sick. I felt like I wanted to die. A few more hits of the wine and I would be OK. Once back in Norfolk I would be fine.

Thank you for reading. I am truly grateful. This is not a part of my life that I have shared with most people but I wanted to in my desire to talk about alcoholism in our communities. Every alcoholics' story is different and each alcoholic reaches a point in which they cannot stop drinking no matter what.  More to come.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Another World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day.

It is difficult for me to think about World AIDS Day without getting tears in my eyes.

So many died. And are still dying.

In 1992 when my best friend Felix died, over 40,000 others lost their battle.

This blog post is in loving memory of all of those we have lost AND with love to anyone who has ever been affected by HIV or AIDS.

Here is a link to the trailer of "How to Survive a Plague", an amazing movie about those early days in AIDS activism:

AIDS is not over. And the bigotry that allowed so many to die is not gone.

PLEASE do not forget the ones we lost. Remember them. Say their name. Think of something wonderful about them. Tell your friends or family about them.

And then take action. Donate to your local HIV/AIDS group. Fight bigotry in any form. Promote prevention. Talk about sex. Tell your elected officials about someone you lost.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The beginning of the end

No, this post is not about the Mayan calendar. I hope you will still read it!

It starts with Tina Turner.

It was November of 1985 and the day had finally come when I would get to see her live in concert. She was performing at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA, not far from where I was stationed. I decided that I was not going to miss her.

I was fortunate to have a car, although the reality at this point in my life was that having a car was not necessarily a good thing.

In October I had purchased a Chevy Citation. I loved it. I promised to never drink and drive. For someone who was in the end days of his active alcoholism, that was a promise that could simply not be kept.

Just the week before I had hit a car (parked) in the parking lot of a bar I was headed to. I was already drunk. As soon as I hit the car a police office opened my car door and grabbed my keys. It was dark and rainy I told him. It wasn't raining.

So the night I get to see Tina Turner began the same way as every other night did. By the time I got to my seat in the coliseum I was drunk. I could not remember how I got there.

I do remember Tina. She was amazing. Her voice, her running around stage and her saxophone player. He was gorgeous.

I remember her every November. And I remember how awful life had become. There would be many more drunk driving episodes before the end would come. And the desperation to stay drunk so I would not have to feel anything only got stronger. Consumed with self hatred and fear, alcohol was my saving grace.

Although alcoholism kills many, including many in the LGBT community and activist communities, the end for me would not be death.

I decided to write some blog posts about alcoholism and my path into recovery as I continue to see alcoholism destroy people in my communities. I will write more about this, including about how I began recovery from alcoholism on December 30, 1985.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Recipe for my favorite Thanksgiving Day dish!

As you all know, I am not a food blogger. This is only my second blog post with a recipe. There are a ton of vegan food bloggers out there, so don't fret. I even have some of them linked here on my blog for your eating pleasure.

This recipe is from my husband, who grew up with this dish. I love it. In fact I am salivating for it as Thanksgiving Day dinner approaches.

I hope you love it!

Broccoli and Vegan Cheese Casserole

I got this recipe from Idea from my sister Tammy

  • 5 Boxes Frozen Broccoli Thawed (I usually use enough fresh Broccoli to fill a 9"x13" baking pan)
  • 2 Sleeves Ritz Crackers (or another vegan version)
  • 1 Cup Earth Balance margarine (the best tasting margarine in the world and no trans - fat)
  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine (the best tasting margarine in the world and no trans - fat)
  • 6 Tbsp Flour
  • 3 Cups Unsweetened Vegan Milk of Choice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Cups Shredded Daiya Cheese Cheddar Style (or vegan cheddar cheese of choice. Follow Your Hart works well too)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard

  1. For the Cheese Sauce: In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the 6 Tbsp of Earth Balance. Once the Earth Balance is liquefied, remove from the heat (don't turn off the burner) and add the flour, salt, and pepper; whisk until smooth. Place the saucepan back onto the burner and slowly add 1 cup of vegan milk, whisking constantly until thickening occurs, then add remaining vegan milk 1/2 cup at a time. Cook sauce over medium heat, Whisking constantly until thickened and smooth. Add the vegan cheese and Dijon mustard and cook for an additional 5 minutes, whisking until smooth and well blended (this may take longer than 5 min be patient it will come together).
  2. For the topping: Process Ritz Crackers in a food processor until a fine meal. Melt the remaining Earth Balance (1Cup) in a sauce pan. Combine the Ritz Crackers and Melted Earth Balance and stir till combined.
  3. Putting it Together: Place the Broccoli in a greased 9"x13" Casserole Dish. Pour the Vegan Cheese Sauce over the top distributing evenly (no need to stir). Cover the top of the Broccoli and Cheese mixture evenly with the Cracker mixture and pat down.
  4. Baking: Place in the oven at 350 Degrees for approximately 30-40min until bubbly and golden brown on top.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Building bridges

Our world is filled with people who just do not get along.

As I write this blog post, missiles are being fired into Gaza and into Israel. People are camping out in bomb shelters and parents are doing what they can to protect their children.Thousands on both sides are suffering.

In the US, the election is over but it seems that the fighting has just begun. Sunday morning sermons are filled with anti-gay speech, and the Republicans and Democrats can' stop arguing with the other side long enough to take a drink of coffee.

We see it in our own communities. People don't act as we think they should, aren't as much of an activist or vote for the wrong candidate and are all of a sudden terrible people and in the throws of gossip.

Mike and I have spent six years with our Cruelty-Free World business meetings folks from every community out there. Some thought we were sinners, some thought we were crazy for being vegan and many thought we could just not have anything at all in common.

I would smile and think to myself "you have no idea".

I remember protesting outside of Norfolk Baptist Church on a cold Sunday morning. The church had placed a multi-thousand dollar ad in our local paper making it clear to the readers that they do not support gay people. There was some lack of clarity when the paper reported a vote in the church membership. We were protesting the ad and were there for church services. Afterwards, I remember a family walking to their car and stopping to speak with me. "You know", the husband/father said " we all have more in common than not". I agreed with him.

And I still do.

We all do indeed have more in common than not. Sometimes we just have to look for it. Or open our eyes and minds to it.

Building bridges is key for any activist. It's not easy. Whatever cause you work on, that cause is better off when you try to build bridges. For me, I think of all of the voiceless throughout the world, animal and human, who suffer.  The gay man about to be executed in Iran; the woman for into sexual slavery; the chicken in a cage so tiny she cannot flap her wings; the pig who desperately wants to live; the "different" teen continually bullied in high school.

The list of those we can help by building bridges is endless.

So reach out to those who do not agree with you. Reach out with kindness. Your kindness can be a powerful testament to your cause.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saying goodbye to Cruelty-Free World

It started with not being able to find a vegan belt.
Then in May of 2006 we "opened" at the Boulder Creek Festival and the journey began. Cruelty-Free World allowed us to sell vegan belts, bags, purses and wallets. We would set up our tent, Mike would make sure the products looked perfect, and then we would welcome anyone who swung by to a completely cruelty-free world.
We have a ton of stories to tell and one day we will. Probably here. In six years of selling vegan goods at markets and festivals, we have had more than ten thousand (much more!)  people in our booth/tent.
Not all liked the idea that we were vegan. Or gay. Some got in our face. It didn't work. After six years we have heard it all, believe me.
Many asked questions about veganism. Many would start a conversation with "We don't have a lot in common because I _________ (fill in the blank with eat meat, hunt, like cheese, etc). Little did they know that they could not be more wrong.
We tried to welcome every person into our booth without judgement. Regardless of what they said to us. For the most part we accomplished this.
We brought veganism to people who had no clue. I loved watching Mike, surrounded by a group of women from the suburbs while he was talking about his favorite cookbook, and then watching all of the women leave with their first vegan cookbook tucked under their arm.
I have a zillion stories like that. Most of them include conversations with people who just wanted to learn about veganism in a non-threatening, non-judgemental environment. 
We sold over a thousand vegan cookbooks, many to people who were not vegan at the time. We also, thanks to PCRM, Mercy For Animals, PETA and Vegan Outreach, were able to pass out several thousand booklets about veganism. Special thanks to Cliff at Splaff, Albert at Hempys and the whole crew at Queen Bee for always creating awesome vegan belts, wallets, bags and purses and allowing us to show the world that beautiful accessories can be found without the cruelty involved.
Mike and I will always be grateful for all of the wonderful people we met while at our booth or in our tent. Our lives have been filled by people that, without Cruelty-Free World, we would have never met.
We are also totally grateful to everyone who ever bought something from us, as because of you we have been able to donate thousands and thousands of dollars to animal rights and human rights groups throughout the country. From big national groups to tiny animal shelters we have discovered on road trips, so many groups received donations because of the success we had with Cruelty-Free World.
The gratitude continues to our friends and family who supported our efforts. We found that 90% of our customers were not vegan or involved with animal rights when we first met them, and some times it felt that we could get only a little support from our own community. But our core friends and family were always there to encourage us and remind us why we were doing this.
After six years we have decided to look at new projects. This blog has taken off and we'd like to put more energy into it. The options are many and we are super excited to what else we can do to help make the world a better place for all living beings and be a voice for the voiceless.
This weekend will be our last show. One of our favorites. The annual World Gift Market at First Universalist in Denver. This has been our best year ever and we are ending our six year run with a bang. 
Stay tuned to The Gay Vegans blog. And you still might see us at your local festival or Farmer's Market. You never know!
Thanks everyone! Thanks to those who have supported CFW.
And thank you for reading!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Building bridges and more vegan options!

You might have read my blog post about Tarascos, a Mexican restaurant in southwest Denver that Mike and I absolutely love.  We ate there yesterday for lunch and after speaking with the owner for a few minutes I got the idea for this blog post.

One of the missions of The Gay Vegans blog is to build bridges, and to support others in building bridges. The relationship we have with the folks at Tarascos is a great example of what anyone can do in their own community to build a bridge, make the community more friendly for vegan cuisine, and in the end be a voice for the voiceless.

When we first ate at Tarascos the owner had already created a vegetarian menu. When we spoke with him about veganism his immediate reaction was that he could easily prepare amazing vegan food because every item was made to order, even their soup (which by the way, their sopa tarasca is a must try!).

Indeed it was easy. Most items on the full page of vegetarian options could be easily made vegan, just leave off the sour cream and cheese. We spoke with him about talking to his staff regarding the difference between vegetarian and vegan. We have had only the best Mexican food since!

In my years as a vegan I have met some restaurant owners who want nothing to do with vegan food. They are in the minority. The vast majority want to fill their restaurant and adding a few vegan items to the menu is easy. No matter their cuisine. The main thing is to approach owners with love and kindness, not judgement, especially if it is already a restaurant that you enjoy eating at.

Mike and I have had great success with this. And in the culinary world where we live it is easy to see that veganism is being embraced all over the place. Our favorite restaurants (listed on our blog) are all restaurants that serve meat, yet that have amazing vegan food.

Building bridges is really what this blog is all about. What better bridges to build than those that increase awareness around vegan food and bring delish vegan food to your local restaurant?!?!

If you need ideas for non-veg restaurants that serve amazing vegan food, just check out our list on the blog. These folks definitely know what they are doing. And we thank them every time we are at their establishment!

Buen provecho and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A new day - The 2012 Election

Mike and I were surrounded by friends, enjoying vegan tamales (with vegan mole!) and sangria at our election night party when we heard that Ohio had gone for the President and news organizations began calling the Presidential election for President Obama.

I was ecstatic.

And I still am. As we continued to watch the results that night and then also the next morning, it became clear that, based on our opinions, election night had produced some wonderful results:

President Barack Obama was re-elected. This was huge for us based on equality, women's rights, veteran care and the economy. It is great having a President who supports our marriage.

The Colorado State House became Democratic again. As of right now it is 38 to 27. What this means is that we are likely to have our first openly gay Speaker of the House in Colorado and any civil unions bill presented is sure to pass. The Republican house leadership has stopped it for a couple of years, even though there were enough votes for it to pass if it got to a floor vote.

Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay member of the US Senate, representing Wisconsin. I take issue with her past support of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and how that has affected animal activists, yet I am still happy for her. 

Gay marriage passed in Maine and Maryland. This means these states actually voted on whether to legalize gay marriage, and they both said YES! In Washington state, voters approved marriage equality as well, supporting a law signed by the governor earlier in the year.

An anti-gay amendment to the Minnesota constitution was defeated.

Our US Congressman, Ed Perlmutter, and our State Rep, Max Tyler, were both re-elected.

Amendment 64, which legalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in Colorado, passed. Even though political "leaders" were all against this, it passed. I am happy just for that, but also because I believe marijuana should be legalized (and the sale of it taxed). Too many people around the world die because of drugs being illegal.

In our county, Jefferson County, voters approved 3A and 3B which will raise tax revenues for our public schools.

Tea party scum in Indiana and Missouri were soundly defeated. I'm sure elsewhere too. It was a good night for religious extremists in this country.

Lots and lots of people voted. They waited forever in line to vote. They disputed being told they could not vote. They made sure their voice was going to be heard.

What was your favorite result of the election?

Before I close, I want to say thank you to our blog readers for putting up with our blogs written about the election. This election was just too important not to write about, or not to share who we supported and why. I'm sure it wasn't fun for all of our readers, but thanks for sticking with us and especially thanks for supporting us.

And thank you for reading this post!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Make a plan for your companion animals

Reading an article this morning reminded me about a blog post I have been meaning to write. The article is about a woman who passed away suddenly and how the local animal shelter is taking care of her dog.

We have run into this a lot. I remember several years back when we met Linus and Lucy. I was at Maxfund cleaning cages. They were sharing a cage and I realized that they were petrified. I learned that their person had passed away suddenly and they had ended up in a shelter. In the couple of hours that I was there they pooped all over themselves three times. I called Mike and we took them in as fosters.

Linus and Lucy were both older, Maltese-mix dogs. Beautiful and loving. We could tell that they had been loved and adored. They were definitely freaked out about losing their person AND ending up in a noisy shelter.

They loved being with us. Whenever Mike was home they were on his lap. There was never enough cuddle time for them!

After a couple of weeks with us a wonderful woman adopted them.

Please make a plan for your companion animals. Yes, I mean including them in your will. If you don't have a will, you can still plan for your animals by making agreements with your friends or family. We have fostered and cared for so many beautiful dogs whose person did not have a plan. The ones we have cared for were the lucky ones.

We have a plan. And we are part of some of our friends' plans. We want to make sure that all of our family members will be taken care of and loved by people we know if anything tragic happens to us.

So go ahead. Do it today. Call a friend or favorite family member or someone who works at your vets office.  Make sure your family member(s) is/are going to be safe if something unforeseen happens.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why we ask you to vote for President Obama

Mike and I voted today!

I am starting this post with a line from within the post. It's towards the end and I want to make sure that anyone who even browses this post will read it:

The simple reality is that for gay people and women (especially poor women), life will be much different under a Romney/Ryan administration than under President Obama.

I clearly remember the day Mike and I went to vote in 2008. I was ecstatic to vote for Barack Obama. Election night was a thrill.

There were a lot of promises. I have heard them before. People have been talking about ending the ban on gays in the military for a long time. That's just one example.

I believed that he would close Guantanamo. I believed he would work for equality. I believed that the economy would get better.

It all hasn't come to be. And I am once again ecstatic to go vote for President Obama. Because we have a ton of readers in several of the "toss up" states, I wanted to write a blog asking you to vote for President Obama.

There is a huge difference between the President and Mitt Romney, more so with social issues. There are many reasons why I am voting for President Obama and not Mitt Romney:

I believe the economy will get better with the President's continued leadership.

I believe we will not get involved with wars we cannot afford with President Obama.

I believe that President Obama honestly wants to make our education system stronger, that he believes in strong, vibrant, innovative public schools.

President Obama believes in equality and will not attack my family or my marriage.

I believe President Obama (and his wife!) truly are concerned for veterans and the care they receive after military service.

President Obama ended the ban on gays and lesbians in the military.

A vote for President Obama is a vote for tolerance (in many forms). A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for intolerance (in many forms).

I believe Mitt Romney is anti gay. His desire is to attack to my marriage by making it unconstitutional.

I believe Mitt Romney has no regard for women in regards to their own health and choices.

I believe Mitt Romney would cave to the religious zealots in our country.

Mitt Romney has said (when he was asked in Colorado) that he does not believe in civil unions for gays and lesbians if they (the civil unions) are "too close" to marriage.

Most of Mitt Romney's charitable giving was to the Mormon Church. The same church that funded Proposition 8 in California.

I believe that Mitt Romney seriously believes in what he said about the 47%.

I understand that many people support Mitt Romney for a variety of reasons and I also understand that many will disagree with my reasons. The simple reality is that for gay people and women (especially poor women), life will be much different under a Romney/Ryan administration than under President Obama. Not just different, Progress made towards equality will falter and the level of freedom for gay and lesbian people and for women will decrease.

I have heard from many people we know who want to vote for Romney, a third-party candidate or who will not vote at all. Please reconsider, and vote for President Obama. Your vote could mean the difference between an administration that fully supports equality and one that fully believes that gay people should not have equal rights (and that's putting it nicely).

Meanwhile, as we count down to election day, if we disagree let's disagree with love and kindness. There is a huge amount of vitriol out there and I know that me, Mike and our readers do not need to be a part of that.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pro animal but anti gay?

It was many years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. Rick Santorum, then a US Senator, was being honored by a national animal group. I was disgusted. It was like gay people were being kicked to the curb by this group. Betrayal in it's deepest, harshest forms.

I understand that animal groups are animal groups. They have a mission, one that does not include equality or even support for gay people. With so much animal cruelty going on in this country I totally understand that animal groups have to focus on their mission.

And I am one who works daily to be a voice for all of the voiceless. My mission includes speaking out against cruelty, hate, bigotry and intolerance in any form.

So what are animal advocates to think when a national group writes an op-ed in a national magazine, Veg News, in support of a candidate. Like everything we have to do these days, investigate.

If you are an animal rights activist and you support equality for gay people, I urge you to look into any candidate that is supported by a national animal group. I personally could never vote for or support a candidate for Congress who does not believe in equality regardless of what they may support or not support in Congress regarding animals.

A wonderful example is a positive note about Representative Mike Fitzpatrick from Pennsylvania. We know from the Veg News article that he is the lead sponsor of a bill to ban the trade of primates as exotic pets. We do not know how his Democratic opponent feels about this and, being solely focused on animals, we do not know by this account that he does not support marriage equality or that he received just a 5% grade from the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group.

There is a similar note about Representative Michael Grimm, who was highlighted in the same Veg News article. He is against marriage equality. He has received a 0% grade from the Human Rights Campaign.

Of course HRC grades solely on how an elected official votes for gay/lesbian/equality issues. I get that. And i hope you get that a 0% or 5% grade means that they basically do not like gay people.

This blog post is just vegan food for thought. As I get to know many of our readers and supporters I know that they fight for animals and also believe in equality. Pro animal does not mean pro equality.

I want both in a candidate.

Please do not support anti-equality candidates, no matter what the national animal groups say.

Thank you so much for reading this!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mourning a dead child

Although I live in the real world and know that there are thousands of missing children out there, my first reaction to a local 10 year old girl going missing was " what the ____ is wrong with this world?".

Over the days of her disappearance I became very emotional about her. For the record, we do not know her or any of her family. She is simply a sweet little girl who went to a park a block from her home to meet friends so they could walk to school together yet never made it to the park. Her family lives just north of me and Mike.

I had to watch every press conference and read everything I could about the investigation. Anger, sadness, even crying for a little girl who at one moment is headed to meet friends in her neighborhood and the next moment she has vanished.

Mike and I do not have children. I can't relate to what the parents are going through. Yet like many who have expressed themselves at vigils and community gatherings, I am outraged. I keep thinking about what I can do and the clear answer is nothing. At least I can't do anything for her but my wheels are turning on what I can do for others.

The last press conference I watched was with the Chief of Police of Westminster telling us that the body found two days prior was indeed that of little Jessica.

I cried.

I want to live in a world where this does not happen. Where even the thought of this would be strange.

And I am surrounded by violence: against children, against women, against animals, against gay people.

Deep breathes.

I am disgusted.

Loving thoughts and prayers for sweet Jessica and everyone who loved her.

Thank you for reading.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gratitude for friendships

It was a fun, sunshiny day in Denver. I was attending a fundraisers conference at DU (University of Denver) and as always I arrived early to scope out the place and meet the speakers who always arrive early to test the audio visual. Mission accomplished and I chose a place in the middle of the room and started checking out what was going on in the world of Twitter. The conference was based on using social media in fundraising so the Twitter check was appropriate.

I was the only attendee in the room, a room seated for 600+ folks.

Suddenly a woman says hello to me. I can't remember if she just joined me or if I invited her to join me. She commented on my bright pink laptop cover.

This is how I met my dear friend Sarah.

Friendships to me have always been hugely important. I don't mean folks I see once in a while or those I see at different activist events. Those folks are great. I am thinking of those friends who make up the human fabric of of your life. Those who touch your soul and add an immense amount of love to your life. I'm sure you can think of them right now.

Sarah became that for me. We are both in the non-profit world. We both were married to the loves of our lives. Lunch or coffee with Sarah always makes my day, sometimes my week.

Horrific tragedy struck Sarah this year. She will never be the same. I don't want to go into the tragedy but will say that as a friend and as someone who cares deeply for her all I could do was be there for her. I could love her, hold her, hug her, run errands for her, be loving to her family and other friends who were around. I couldn't take away the excruciating pain.

I still can't. I can still do everything else I just mentioned though.

I had to say "see you later" to Sarah last night. She had moved here from England and made the difficult decision to take her sons and move back. The other night we had an amazing talk and I left with my eyes filled with tears and feeling emotionally numb.

And filled with gratitude.

As a gay man, family was not always available to me. They are now, but the whole coming out process isn't easy for anyone. These days it's a bit easier but still causes havoc in family relationships. My friends become family. They know it. I talk about it a lot. Even with great relationships with most of my family these days, my friends are my rock. They are part of what makes my life so charmed.

So it's not easy saying goodbye to one. I know I'll see her again. We talked about me and Mike meeting her in Iceland!

Thank you my dear friends. I love you.

Thanks for reading. If you'd like to connect but don't want to leave a comment, my personal email is

Friday, September 28, 2012

Vote. Seriously.

I have heard and read it all. By "it", I am mean all of the statements and arguments as to why people should not vote.

I get it.

Some think it doesn't matter who wins an election, that all candidates are the same. I suppose part of this could be true, yet I firmly believe that this statement is great for people who have the privilege of being heterosexual. Or for someone who believes the statement of equal opinions/actions from candidates doesn't include opinions around equality or any type of positive notion around gays and lesbians.

Believe me, there is a difference.


From your local city council to the President, candidates have vastly different views on equal rights for gays and lesbians. I'm not asking candidates to carry a gay flag at a gay pride parade. I'm talking about candidates who don't even support civil unions. Or go out of their way to disparage or demonize gay people.

Yes, there are many other issues that I am concerned about, yet it begins with whether or not a candidate believes Mike and I should have equality on some level.


Who represents you in your state house? In your state senate?

Who is your voice in the US House of Representatives?

What local issues are being decided on? How about your local Board of Education?

Check it out. There is a lot of information out there.

And remember us. Remember The Gay Vegans when you vote.

Early voting starts soon in many places. In some places you need to be registered 30 days before an election so that cutoff date is coming up. Check with your county clerk for more information.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I am in love with my husband

This seems like an intense statement. It's one I say almost every day, and as I posted on Facebook yesterday, my love for him is especially strong these days for whatever reason.

Mike and I met at our church about ten years ago. I had always thought he was handsome, and because he was partnered at the time I was very respectful of his relationship, only saying hi to them as a couple. Unfortunately, as in many relationships, gay and straight, Mike and his partner had become more like room mates than partners.

We had our first date, and our first kiss, on January 7th 2004.

The next month, as a gift to me for Valentine's Day, Mike became vegetarian while on a trip to New Mexico. That same trip, we found our dog Miguel on the side of the highway. I immediately stopped and went to try to catch him, and Mike was fully supportive. Through the mud and cold and snow I tried to catch Miguel. It took 45 minutes. He was only 8 weeks old. Mike was right there with me. I knew then that he was the one. (Miguel came home with us and is now 8 years old!)

A couple of months later, on his birthday, Mike went vegan. Not as a gift to me, but as a gift to himself and the animals.

In August I asked him to marry me. We went to a gay-friendly park (yes, it's unfortunate but true that we need to think about these things) and I got on a knee and proposed to him. I brought some vegan chocolate cake to sweeten the deal.

We got married on April 30, 2005. I call our wedding day the best day of my life. We were married in the same church where we met, surrounded by 160 friends and family. Since our marriage ceremony would not be legal, we called it a "loving act of civil disobedience". It was truly a beautiful ceremony, and the days surrounding our wedding were filled with the love and support of family and friends.

My beautiful husband.

Many times I tell folks that I have a charmed life. Indeed I do. And I try to act that way every day: grateful, loving, kind, happy. I have even had people tell me that there is no way I could be as happy as I seem. I think to myself, silly you, have you met my husband?

Our marriage is a real marriage. By that I mean that we don't always agree on everything and that every day is not always perfect. The really cool thing is that we know what to do when potentially negative things occur, and we both know to remember that we are incredibly in love with each other.

One day we, as a gay married couple, will have equal rights. Today we do not. Sure, we can have special paperwork and extra legal documents and extra agreements to ensure our relationship stands firm for always, yet none of that is equal to a heterosexual couple and their marriage benefits.

Marriage equality hurts no one. No one.

I know many of our readers are activists of some sort. I know most of you work to make this world a better place for all living beings. Please keep marriage equality in mind when you vote this November. Your vote could affect our marriage. Actually, it will affect our marriage regardless of who you vote for (or if you choose not to vote). It just depends on if it will support our marriage or work to attack our marriage.

Thank you so much for reading!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Big Brothers, Big Sisters

This month I celebrate one year with my little brother. We all know how times flies, yet in this case it seems unreal that we have been hanging out for a year now.

After Mike and I married we decided that we wanted to become foster parents. The whole experience was incredible, and we were able to add love and kindness to lives that hadn't known much of that. The foster experience allowed us to realize that we didn't want to have a child unless we could raise that child forever, and the adoption system seemed out of reach for us financially speaking.

So one day we talked about me becoming a big brother, and I started the process. It has been a perfect example of trying to make the world a better place for all living beings!

Big Brothers and Big Sisters has been around forever. Their work changes the lives of children and teens all over the country. I checked them out and decided that this was something that could work for me. I should add that, at least in Colorado, there were anti-gay practices happening and those are long since gone.

The process is simple: background check, fingerprinting, an interview with one of the staff, and a training. The time that BBBS asks is 2-3 three hangouts a month, agreed upon by you and your little (the child/teen you are connected with).

To maintain as much privacy as I can for my little, I won't use his real name. Joe is 8 years old and in the third grade at school. He was 7 when we met. He lives pretty close to us, which I think is important in creating a long-term relationship. BBBS's vision is that a big brother will remain so until the little graduates from high school, so living close to Joe makes visits a lot more convenient.

In the past year we have gone on hikes, had library visits, gone swimming (Joe loves the rock climbing wall at the Lakewood public pool!), spent hours on math problems, and volunteered at our local animal shelter (imagine that!).

The relationship is great for both of us. I get to be part of a wonderful young man's life and he gets a (hopefully) positive role model. He shares his home with his mom, older brother and younger sister. Me being his big brother doesn't take the place of him having a father, yet it gives him access  to another world, and growing experiences with an adult male.

I love it. And as tough as an 8 year old can be to read, Joe is digging it too. If you live in the Denver area and might be interested in becoming a big brother or big sister, check out their website: If you don't live in the Denver area a simple Google search will get you to your closest office.

Thanks so much for reading!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A political storm

Mike and I live in a swing state, Colorado. If you also live in a swing state, you most likely can relate to what we have to deal with regarding TV and radio commercials filled with attacks and in most cases untruths.

In Colorado, we also have an important election season around our state legislature. Equality for gays and lesbians in our state is very important, and we know that under house Republican leadership we will never see civil unions in Colorado. The Republicans have a one seat majority in our state house and we are hoping (and working towards) waking up on November 5th to a state house that has a Democratic majority.

In our county, we have 3A and 3b, both efforts to support our public schools by a very small property tax increase. This is a no brainer for us. We don't have children but we completely realize the importance of education and the importance of strong, successful public schools. We would give a lot more than what 3A and 3B will take from us if they pass.

Regardless of what is important to YOU, I urge you to get involved in this election process. There are huge differences between candidates, differences that mean something to many people.  Make sure your voter registration is up to date. If you have moved, make sure you are registered in your new home. Urge your friends and family to do the same. In Colorado, you can do this online. And remember that in most states, including Colorado, you must register to vote 30 days prior to an election.

I also invite all of you to do as Mike and I are doing and drop some cash to a candidate you support. Or have a fundraiser in your home for them.

There is a lot on the line this election. And yes, I have read all the opinions of others who believe there is no difference in the Presidential candidates, that the system is rigged and their a vote doesn't make a difference. I kindly disagree.

Many of our readers are, like us, activists. Whether animal rights, human rights, marriage equality, education, the environment or one of dozens of other causes. Make your voice heard. Get involved in the process.

Thank you so much for reading. My email address is If you need help finding out about candidates in state and federal races in your area, click here:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mi primer blog escrito en español

En mi blog pasado, escribí sobre mi aventura a Santa Marta, Colombia hace 30 años. Ahora quiero tratar a escribir un blog en español para que pueda practicar el español y tal vez introducir mi blog a personas que todavía no lo conocen.

Para introducirles a nuestro blog si no lo conoce todavía, se llama The Gay Vegans, o Los Veganos Gay en español. El blog es una forma de escribir para mi, escribir sobre mi vida, mi vida con mi esposo, como es ser gay y vegano en un suburbio, la política, los derechos humanos y de los animales, y comida.    
Si Ud. habla español tal vez ya sabe que mi español está lejos de perfecto. Trato a practicar cada día pero siempre hay mas que aprender. Discúlpame y sepa que cada vez el español sería un poco mejor que la vez antes.

Ya tengo un año escribiendo este blog y me encanta el mundo de blogs. Cada dia tengo la oportunidad de escribir sobre tantas cosas que me importan, o solamente sobre una experiencia que he tenido. Mientras los cuentos de blog, los comentarios y también los correos de email que recibo, puedo aprender no solamente de una noticia o situación de que no sabia pero puedo aprender sobre una persona y su experiencia.

Les presento como una persona que cada dia quiero mejorar el mundo. Y quiero conocer a personas que quieren hacer lo mismo.

No se cuantas veces al mes podría escribir mis cuentos de blog en español pero por favor sepa que mi meta es hacerlo muchas veces al mes. 

Bienvenido a mi blog. Espero que lo disfrute.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A 30 year anniversary

When I was 15 my mom, younger brother and I left the suburbs of Detroit to head up north in Michigan a bit to Midland. My folks had gotten divorced and my mom wanted to be closer to her family in Essexville, MI.

So I started high school there and was miserable. High school for me sucked. It was definitely the most difficult part of my life. Yet at that point I wasn't aware of that, or of the huge opportunity that awaited me.

One day I was walking down the halls of school in between classes and listened to the announcements, one being about going to live abroad for a year through the Rotary Exchange Student Program. I of course made my way to the office and got information. About a year later, on August 30, 1982, after interviews and classes and meeting exchange students from all over the world, I landed in Santa Marta, Colombia to begin my year abroad.

I was 16 and had never flown nor ever been abroad. My flight from Miami had been delayed many hours and I was fascinated by the people watching in Miami International Airport. Before I knew it we were over Cuba, made a brief stop in Cartagena, and very late in the evening landed in Santa Marta.

I was greeted by my host parent, Pedro and Fanny Guido, and their 16 year old son Adolfo. He was especially excited as he was catching this plane in a few hours to head to the States to begin his one year abroad. I was tired but ecstatic as I saw my family patiently waiting as I went through customs.

I am 46 now and always look back to that year with fondness. Of course in 30 years so much has changed and regretfully missed my opportunity to go back to see Pedro and Fanny before they passed away. Between life's ups and downs and my fear of flying, I have never returned to beautiful Santa Marta. Last year I had the awesome chance to visit with one of my best friend's sisters from Colombia while Mike and I were in Florida and after spending a day with her it was definitely in me that I wanted to return.

My new passport came in the mail a couple of weeks ago and have been looking at flights ever since

I sidetracked. My time in Colombia totally changed the person I was. Engaging in another culture, learning another language, seeing a part of the world that I had no clue about and having tons of conversations about things I had never really discussed  taught me so much. Seeing crazy poverty, human rights issues, the most beautiful beaches in the world, a genuine friendliness not really known to me from the US at that point in my life and making friends some of whom I am still in touch with to this day. All of this was huge for a 16 year old white guy who came from privilege, even though I didn't understand it that way at the time.

I met the coolest people. People who took the time to teach me Spanish. I remember many a day when Pedro would drive me around pointing to things and saying them in Spanish. A busy eye surgeon with a family taking his precious free time to teach me. Semaforo rojo (red light) I heard so many times that it is something in Spanish that I will never forget!

I was 16. I typical, cocky teenager. I liked to do things my way. When my host sister Rossana suggested I turn off the US music and set down the book I was reading in English so that I could learn Spanish I was stunned, yet it was a great lesson. One of many I learned from her and many others, lessons that totally changed my life. I will be forever grateful for all of those who were so kind in so many ways.

Thiking of the kindness I have to smile about all of my host cousins. So loving in so many ways. They were a huge part of a wonderful time in Colombia.

It's been 30 years since I first arrived in Santa Marta and since I started to become the man I am today. My heart is filled with loving memories of all of the people I met, especially those part of my host family and those friends of mine who I smile about all of the time.

Thank you for reading!

NOTE: The photo is of El Rodadero, the beach/tourist area of Santa Marta just west and over a small mountain from the city.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Celebrating kind people

I am sure you're heard the saying "Practice Random Acts of Kindness". I know it goes on from there but can't remember the rest of it.

I love this saying!

Recently on Twitter (one of my all time favorite social media outlets) I saw a post from one of the folks I follow that said this: Truth: There are kind people out there...let's celebrate them!

What a sweet, refreshing thought.

My first though in writing this post was to make a list of unkind things I am tired of seeing or experiencing. Then I reconsidered, thinking that this post will be all about celebrating kind people.

Like the people who see my truck blinker and allow me to merge into traffic and/or switch lanes.

The donors who thank me for fundraising.

Our neighbors who constantly tell us how lucky THEY feel to have US as neighbors.

Those in our world who forgive and give others a second chance.

Those who always give the benefit of the doubt to people hey love.

People at the gym who tell me I look great.

My husband, who teaches kids 12 - 18 how to play the violin, viola, cello and bass.

The drivers on I-70 who stopped in an effort to reunite two bear cubs who had gotten separated from their mother trying to cross the interstate.

Those who are loving even when it is not easy.

Those who don't say anything rather than saying something they might regret.

I could go on and on. I'm sure that each of you could create your own list. How even more awesome of a world would we live in if every day each of us practiced a random act of kindness (or two!)?

To all of our readers and supporters out there who have inundated Mike and I with kindness, thank you!

And thank you for reading! My email address is

Tuesday, August 28, 2012



Two friends of mine were meeting me for lunch and I asked them to pick a place. They know I am vegan and told me to meet them at Tarascos.

I love Mexican food. I also have realized that it is tough to find delicious Mexican food that is vegan. Not any more!

First, Tarascos is not a veg or vegan restaurant, they serve meat. If that is the only kind of restaurant you go to this is not for you. For anyone else, read on!

The owner greeted us and told me about the vegetarian menu, the jugos naturales, and that because everything is made to order making the veg items vegan is simple. AND, the vegetarian menu is bordered by names of famous vegetarians. How cool.

I started with Nopales Asados (grilled cactus!) with a hot salsa that I wanted more and more of. The to Sopa Tarasca which is a traditional Michoacan bean soup. If you'd like it vegan simply ask for it without sour cream and cheese (crema y queso). It is delish. I honestly cannot remember all of the health benefits around this soup even though Noe told me, and I have to say that while eating it I felt healthier!

A spinach salad topped with grated apple was next. It was also delish but I wanted to keep going into the entrees. I totally was not disappointed and indeed mildly surprised as Noe, the owner, dropped off plates of vegan enchiladas topped off with different salsas. he explained to me that the one plate with three different salsas was based on nutrition and each salsa covered different nutrients! Seriously!

The Enchiladas Plazeras and the Enchiladas Espinacas were delish, and easily made vegan.

Have you ever had jalapeno peppers stuffed with peanut butter? I hadn't. Loved them! A little spice with a little sweetness.

Do you love mole? No worries as they have a couple of vegan versions including a yellow mole.

Dessert? Yes! The only vegan option is a sweet tamale, which I had with Cafe Olla, a sweetened coffee. Oh my!

If you have read my prior restaurant reviews you know that the two things most important to me in regards to my review are amazing vegan food and friendly service. Both times I have been to Tarascos the service has been wonderful. I was lucky to catch the owner my first time, and each time I very much enjoyed the friendliness of all of the employees.

I love to eat. I love Mexican food. If you are ready to try amazing Mexican food, I highly recommend lunch or dinner at Tarascos!

Tarascos is located at 470 South Federal Boulevard, just a couple block south of Alameda on the east side of the street. They are open every day of the week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What we do to animals

I have been vegan for sixteen years and an animal lover my entire life. Growing up, we always had one dog and usually a handful of rabbits or guinea pigs. The day I (a sophomore in high school) buried my guinea pig Rusty in the backyard was one of the most heart-wrenching days in my life at the time.

I became vegan for animal reasons. As in I do not want to harm animals. The bigger picture is that I want to do as little harm to any living being as long as I am on this earth. From mice to whales to humans.

Now at 46 (well 46 1/2 as you know from a couple of blog posts ago!) I am even more stoked to be vegan for the health benefits. But back in the day, the only reason I became vegan was because I did not want to be part of the cruelty that inevitably happens for any animal to become my meal. This is still the driving force for my veganism.

I am still blown away when I catch news of the horrific things we as a human race do to animals, whether it is to celebrate a Saint, promote a religion, support a long term cultural deal, entertainment of any kind, or simply because we can.

A few minutes on my Facebook page or reading news blasts from around the country reminds me that not everyone believes about animals as I do.

Many times I just shake my head. How can anyone do anything like that to another living being. It's worse when one is clear that their action is creating great pain to that animal. Of course I realize that this is the reason for some people to cruelly torture an animal. Others simply pay another human being to inflict the cruelty and they don't partake until the former living being is presented all pretty at a restaurant or all wrapped in shiny plastic at the grocery store.

If there was a poll done I would bet that over 90% of people in the US believe that cruelty to animals is wrong.

Yet the cruelty continues. In all parts of our country, in communities big and small, gay and straight, rich and poor. The only thing that will stop the cruelty is us.

Going vegan is the best way. Knowing that we are all on our own path there are other ways to start. Vegetarianism, speaking out against cruelty in entertainment, promoting spay and neuter in your community, and the list could go on and on.

Yet for me, being vegan is the key to a life that simply does not accept the incredibly horrible way our society treats animals.

Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Building bridges

Whew! What a week this has been.

Summer is coming to an end which I know because my teacher husband went back to the classroom this week, with students returning this coming week. The dogs are already missing having him around all day. At my day job I am counting down the 1/2 day Fridays we have left, only two more! This is one of my favorite benefits at my job, being able to leave every Friday during the summer at noon.

Meanwhile, I have just realized that my blog posting has taken a hit and I have suddenly reverted to just one post a week. My goal has been to write two posts a week, and I will do my best to get back to that. While thinking this morning of this blog, I decided that I want to bring up a topic that comes to mind on a daily basis.

Bridge building.

As in building bridges between communities, between individuals, between those who might disagree on one point and those who might be in disagreement over several points. This whole blog is all about bridge building and supporting those out there doing the building!

This weeks example is an activist friend who wants to support one community's fundraiser but because the fundraiser is a cookout with a very small choice for vegans she has concerns about attending. In this social media world the discussion has become negative on Facebook. After asking for my thoughts when she received a not-so-nice (and personally attacking/judgement) note from someone who disagreed with her, I responded with this:

I am so sorry to hear this. My first reaction is to tell you that I adore you. My second is, welcome to our lives! Mike and I get a lot of this with our blog. The first thing I remind folks is that they do not know me. They only know what I posted. The second is that I will always be an unapologetic voice for the voiceless, all of the voiceless. I am not going to be quiet just because my voice does not equate to someone elses vision of liberation or equality. I must always do this in a loving way, and it is even more vital on FB where many people see and may only read snippets of what is going on.

If I were involved in this I would write a loving/compassionate note to whoever is in charge of organizing this event simply asking that they offer more vegan items so you can not only go, but feel good in inviting others to go and support them.

Sending you lots of love. Dan

My experience here is to see how I can lovingly support a group whose mission I strongly believe in and at the same time be a voice for the voiceless. 

It's not always easy, simple or fun. And please know that I am not trying to simplify what can be a very difficult experience. I am only trying my best to be a loving example of a voice for the voiceless.

Thank you so much for reading. I would love you feedback. You can leave a comment or email me at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

46 1/2 years

Last night I went to my first ever yoga class. It was amazing and I can't wait to go again.

Towards the end of the 1 1/2 hour class we were finishing up by doing a yoga move/pose where one lays on the back and is completely still, palms up. The instructor went over a list of body parts that would begin melting into the floor. My closed eyes were rolling as I thought "can we just finish up please".

He continued. And before you knew it I totally felt that I was melting into the floor. As I embraced this I realized that yesterday was the half-way point from 46 to 47 years old.


That six months went by fast.

Yet what a year it has already been. I am in love with my husband, I have the best job in the world, my family and friends are so amazingly supportive, Mike and I love our home filled with furries, and each day I wake up wondering what I can do that day to make the world a better place for all living beings.

Whew, what a list. Gratitude is an understatement.

2012 is the first year I started out as a blogger. I love this blog and all of the wonderful people who I have connected with because of it. I love that through The Gay Vegans I am able to help build bridges and engage in conversation around things that are important to me like animal rights, human rights, marriage equality, bigotry, compassion, and simply being gay and vegan in the burbs.

Thanks to all of you who support this blog!

And as always, thanks for reading. I promise to have a more engaging blog post next time; I just had to share this!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Time to stop the hate

This blog post comes from my personal experience within several communities that Mike and I are a part of.

It's time to stop the hate.

Bullying on any level is wrong.

I am not going to say your behavior is OK.

Stop the verbal violence against each other.

Stop the character assasination.

Look in the mirror. The person you are being is not the person we know you are.

I wish this issue was rare. The more I listen to others I realize it isn't. A family member doesn't talk with you. Someone thinks you are not vegan enough. That person makes too much money. So and so told me that he told her that you said something bad about me. I hate that person so you must hate them too. Did you know he did THAT?!?!

It's the whole focus on the family deal. You are OK with me as long as you act just as I want you to act, believe just as I want you to believe, and don't you dare think otherwise.

I have been on the receiving line of all of this. It's not fun. It's hurtful.

So why do we do it? I have no clue. My daily goal is to make the world a better place for all living beings. And to love. Being part of any of the crap that I just wrote out has no place in my life and does nothing towards ending suffering in the world.

There is so much hate in the world.

Only we can stop it.

I can disagree with you but I will not hate you. I will set boundaries as to what behavior is OK and what behavior is not OK, but I will not hate you. If our disagreement is so strong that we should not be in relationship, as sad as that is then so be it. My love is stronger than any hate out there.

Thanks for reading. I am truly grateful. My email address is if you would like to communicate with me without posting a comment.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Gay Vegans and Chick-fil-A

Many of you know that Dan usually writes these blogs.  With all of the recent news about Chick-fil-A I wanted to relate a personal story.  

Look at some of the companies and groups that Chick-fil-A financially supports.

One of the groups is Exodus International who’s mission statement says “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality”.  On their site they say they do not support bullying, reparative therapy, or anything like that.  This is not true.  Though they don’t specifically offer reparative therapy they quickly get people into programs of reparative therapy.  These therapies can range from counseling to more intensive things like exorcisms, electro shock therapy, brain washing, etc.  It really depends on the people who are running a particular chapter of the group. 

So where is my personal connection you may ask?  In my first year of college I got involved with a Christian group on campus.  The other students in the group were amazing.  I really enjoyed being with these people and will forever be grateful for them.  Yet in the process of being involved with this group I got involved with people from Exodus International along with other Ex-Gay groups.  These people led me to believe that being gay was not what God intended for me.  I was very confused coming from a religious background that did not accept homosexuality.  I had finally started to accept who I am until these people came along.  They quickly got me involved in reparative therapy sessions.  My sessions included long hours with groups (that I had to pay for; thousands of dollars wasted) telling me that my being gay was a result of things that happened to me and I had a choice not to be gay.  There was laying of hands, exorcisms in the group, and though it never happened to me, some individuals experienced electro shock therapy.  The sessions were very much in a bullying style intended to brainwash us into believing we were not supposed to be gay. 

This did not help.  I had homosexual attractions ever since I can remember.  Going back to when I was five.  I do not remember a time when I did not find a man more desirable than a woman.  That means that all those things they said made me gay happened after I knew I was gay.  All the group did for me was make me hate myself more, go into more secretive and destructive behavior, and not want to exist. 

Through the grace of God I moved states and came to Colorado after college.  I eventually found people who supported me, and a church that supported me for who I am and not what they thought I should be.  It has been a long road and is still a journey I take with my loving and supportive husband.

Why do I share this story?  To let you know of just a touch of atrocities that companies like Chick-fil-A commit on non-human animals but on their fellow humans as well.  Don’t shop blindly and vote with your dollars blindly.  Before you buy your next meal out, a car, or even your groceries look at what you are supporting.  Ask the tough questions of what their policies are and whom they give to.  Ask for documentation, especially if you are buying something big.  I know I roll my eyes at my husband when he does this but love him even more for doing it.  Do you want to be a part of something that is destructive and hurtful?  Or do you want to be a part of something that brings love and compassion to the world?

I leave you with something from the Bible which relates to animal cruelty. The owners at Chick-fil-A don't bring up this part. Their entire chain supports animal cruelty, which is against biblical principle:  “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for good.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds  of the air and the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food”  Genesis 1:29-30.  Read on for yourself He never in the perfect world told us to eat animals, in fact he tells us to rule over them and we know a good ruler will not kill and eat his subjects.  It was only after the fall that humans started eating animals.

As Dan always says, thanks for reading. We both are so grateful for all of the support we get from our readers!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Nonviolent action against discrimination

If you are connected to me on Facebook, Twittter, or Pinterest you know that I recently found out about a bakery in my own town told a gay couple this past week that they would not make them a wedding cake.

My first thought was that this could not possibly be true. Don't get me wrong, I am not ignorant to the reality of the world. But in Lakewood, CO.

Within a half hour my friend Drew Wilson (Mile High Gay Guy) spoke with the owner of Master Piece Bakery who confirmed that that would not be serving the gay community.

I was stunned.

I did not want to react with anger, hostility or violence, in my actions or in my words. So I went to my world of social media and I got busy.

First to Yelp. Dozens of people had already posted comments and reviews. I wanted to post something on Yelp for the same reason I am writing this blog: so people who support equality and are against bigotry and discrimination in any form will know not to shop at this bakery.

I then got onto Twitter and Facebook and asked those connected with me there to spread the word.  And boy did they.

As all of this was happening I began to write about nonviolence. For this guy to not want to do business with the gay community, well, that's his right. I doubt I can change his mind. (He has not stated why. His only comment was "use your imagination". What I can do is make sure that we, this amazing community of people who will not accept bigotry and discrimination, will not financially support his business. I will keep telling people about this and keep asking them not to shop there.

And I will ask them to speak out against this in a nonviolent way. No threats of violence, no curse-laden phone calls. Simply saying "I heard about your decision on not making a wedding cake for a gay couple, I'm sickened by that, and I will not shop with you" is just fine.

We can stand our ground and fight the good fight without becoming people we do not want to be.

Now I am hungry for cake. Good, vegan cake. I wish Beet Box would deliver to me right now!

Thanks for reading and thank you for your support. My email is is you would like to email me. If you would like to read Drew's blog about his trip to meet the owner of Master Piece Bakery, click here:

Friday, July 20, 2012

No gay boy scouts or chicken

Two bigoted restatements in one week. I am not surprised, even though I thought the first one would be different.

The powers that be at The Boy Scouts of America, mainly Mormon and Catholic white men, decided after two years of thinking about it that they will continue to ban gay people in any role within their organization.  I have tried to pay attention to this story a lot and didn't know how active the Mormon church is within the BSA.

Such a sad statement for an organization that teaches young people.

I was thrilled to read today's Denver Post editorial which agreed with me. My favorite part of their opinion was this: "But having the right to bar gays and actually doing it are two different things. The right does credit to our freedom, but the ban reflects a dated intolerance. If the group truly wants to return to its roots, it should reconsider and lift the ban."

And as soon as this news digested, the head of Chik-Fil-A, a chicken fast food place that I guess is popular, made it clear that he does not support gay marriage. His statement is backed up by the over $5 million his company has spent supporting anti-gay groups.

"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," President Dan Cathy is quoted as saying. (from CNN)

Of course we're vegan, so I wouldn't step near one of those places anyway. Now gay people, and anyone who supports equality, have another reason not to go to Chik-Fil-A.

I also want to share what Mike, my husband, posted on his Facebook page about this:
Do you eat at Chik-Fil-A? If so look at what you are supporting. For those of you that don't know when you get to who they support Exodus International is a group that does Reparative therapy (making someone who was born gay deny who they are and become "straight". It doesn't work I can tell you from first hand experience). I was involved with this group in college. Not something I would want anyone else to go through. Please do not support their barbaric and hateful practices by eating at this place.
I'm curious as to how many folks will choose not to go to Chik-Fil-A because of this. And then I started thinking of a bigger picture. How many people who are in the meat industry support equality for gay people, like marriage equality. In driving around ranch country in eastern Colorado, it's rare to see signs promoting gay friendly candidates.

I could go on and on. I could even delve into the issue of why communities who are attacked financially support their attackers. But don't worry. I'll save that for another post!

Thank you very much for reading my blog!