Prop 8 protest

Prop 8 protest
One of my favorite signs seen at a marriage equality protest.

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 vegandude@msn.com 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: http://www.milehighgayguy.com/2012/07/masterpiece-cakeshop-serving-up-cakes.html


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!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The love gay

Mike and I were at Veg Fest Colorado the weekend of July 7th. We had a blast. Our vegan company, Cruelty-Free World was a sponsor of the fest and we loved selling cookbooks, purses, belts, wallets as well as promoting our blog.

I just had to share a conversation Mike had with two young children at our booth:

Child: What kind of gay does that mean?

Mike: Well that is my husband over there. I am married to another man.


Child:  Oh, so the love gay.

Mike: Yes. (of course I was a bit overwhelmed by his statement. What a great way to explain gay).

His sister: I thought you said you were from Colorado, isn't that illegal?

Mike: Yes but in our eyes we are married.

Both kids: We think it is just stupid you can't get married. They need to change that."

What a great way to explain gay indeed! The first child had seen our cards and sign promoting The Gay Vegans. I still get a little teary eyed when I talk or write about this. It was just so cool. And their mother just smiled as the conversation was going on.


From Mike: What awesome kids. Taught me something. I love talking with children as they are so open and truthful.

The kids we in 4th or 5th grade.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A vegan blogger's conference?

Oh yeah!

The first time I read about Vida Vegan Con was just before I decided to create The Gay Vegans.  As a new blogger I am always looking at opportunities for meeting other bloggers and learning about blogging. I went to the blogger's reception at Creating Change last year and walked out with so many ideas I had to run to my hotel room to write them all down.

I don't know the people who created Vida Vegan Con and I don't know why they created this conference. Yet I think it's a spectacular idea!

Yep. I'm going! On July 1st they sold some early-bird tickets and I was lucky to get one. Now I have many months to be excited about meeting bloggers I have only communicated with online face to face.

As a new blogger I have found a ton of support out there. So many people ready to give an idea, suggest a change, talk about their experiences. It's a wonderful world. I remember reading about how amazing Vida Vegan Con 2011 was, it just wasn't my time to go.

2013 is the year.

And you guessed it: I'll be road-tripping! Denver to Portland! So much time to plan. And workout. With all of the incredible food at the conference, in Portland, and in Salt Lake City (one of my for sure stops during the road trip, I will be eating A LOT! Time to prepare for that now!

I'm not sure how many registrations will be available for Vida Vegan Con 2013. I highly recommend going. Or sponsoring. Imagine getting your vegan product, idea, or business in front of hundreds of vegan bloggers! Holy Cow! I'm sure they have some sponsorship space available and I'm also pretty sure they sell vendor space. Maybe I'll find my next favorite vegan food there!

I will keep you posted as I make my plans.

Thank you for reading! If you are going to Vida Vegan Con or have attended another blogger conference I should know about, please let me know: vegandude@msn.com

For more information on Vida Vegan Con: http://vidavegancon.com/ or click the link on our blog!




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Health care in the news

I am sure some of our readers are not political geeks like I am. I am also sure that the recent news of President Obama's health care law being deemed constitutional by the US Supreme Court might have some of you smiling or frowning.

The right wingers are having fun saying anything negative they can about this plan. Mitt Romney promises a full repeal if he is elected. This has become the most fun animal-free circus I have ever seen. And it's a huge bummer.

Mike and I have both always had health care. We are both in a position now where our employers pay 100% of our health care, and dental. We are totally fortunate, and grateful. I do not know what it is like to not have health care.

Not everyone has what we have. I don't know the number, but I am sure I can say that millions of US citizens do not have health care.

I applaud anyone who tries to fix a problem. I know President Obama had personal experiences around health care, that his mom was uninsured.

I do not know enough about the current health care plan just deemed constitutional but am stoked that people tried to fix a system that is definitely broken. I have read about many people who will be helped, some already have. I have read many good things about this plan. I have also read about the cost as well as fears that small businesses have in being required to offer health care.

Meanwhile, those who already have never liked President Obama have more ammunition and with their millions of dollars there is no doubt in my mind that we will be hearing and seeing their venom all over the place.

And hopefully a child will not lack for insurance because she had pre-existing conditions. And hopefully a recently graduated college student trying so hard to find a job can relax a bit knowing they will be covered by their parent's health insurance for a little longer. And so on.

I looked around for info on what the health care reform law looks like and this was one of the best sites I could find: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_reform_in_the_United_States

As this debate around health care continues, I hope that cool heads prevail and serious problems can be tackled. Demonizing each other will get us nowhere.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

20 years without Felix

Every once in a while I think about the old days. Specifically my thoughts go to a dance bar in Norfolk and my head fills with songs from New Order, Madonna, Yaz, Depeche Mode, Erasure and Dead or Alive. I close my eyes and see a dance floor filled with men, and remember many faces of old friends.

As the 90's began, more and more of those men lost their battle with HIV/AIDS.

I still remember so many of them like it was just this past weekend that we danced, went to a meeting, had dinner or went to a drag show.

One of those who lost his battle was my dear friend Felix. He died on July 6, 1992. It's difficult to believe that he has been gone for 20 years.

Felix was one of the most loving, caring, fun and kind men I have ever met. When he passed away, the world changed. My world definitely changed. Gone was a the man who taught me so much, mainly about love and friendship. He taught me how to love everyone. And if you have ever gotten a hug from me, the hug that holds hard and lasts a bit longer than your average hug, well I got that from Felix. A lot of who I am today came from or was inspired by Felix.

There have been very few days in the last 20 years that I haven't thought of him. I carry a drawing of him at AIDS walks. I often think about how he would react to a person or situation. And I am always totally grateful for having known him.

In 1992, Felix was one of over 40,000 people in the US, the majority gay men, who died from complications caused by AIDS. It would be a couple of years yet until the drug cocktails came around and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands. Nevertheless, over 17,000 people in the US died from complications due to AIDS in 2010.

I remember Tidewater AIDS Crisis Taskforce in Norfolk, VA and the many times I was there to help, to drop off a wheelchair, to get a prescription, to see a friend perhaps for the last time. I remember seeing the list of those who had died in the last week or month, and the many hours spent in hospitals. (TACT is now Eastern Virginia AIDS Network http://evanva.org/ )

And, back to this anniversary, I remember Felix. My dear, loving friend whom I still miss so much 20 years later. I know many of you have experienced loss. And I know the loss is always felt. How fortunate was I to know Felix!

Thank you for reading my blog post. This one was one of my toughest as my eyes fill with tears. My email address is vegandude@msn.com if you would like to share thoughts that you don't want to put in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vegan paradise in Michigan


Mike and I had a surprise waiting for us when we got to Michigan.

Picture this. If you are vegan, you have probably experienced this. A friend or relative says that they have been to a restaurant where "you can eat" and that you would love it. Having experienced this before and not being impressed with being able to order a chef's salad without the meat and cheese, you're thinking "sure".

This is what Mike and I were thinking when we walked into Heather's for lunch in downtown Bay City, MI.

Boy were we wrong!

Heather's is a vegan paradise right in the middle of Michigan. Well, sort of in the middle. Downtown Bay City is just ten minutes east of I75, and about two hours north of Detroit.

When we first saw the menu I smiled as I read about the vegan seitan pot pie. Oh my! That's what I ordered the first time and all I can say is delish! The side I ordered was a butternut squash delight with pecans and brown sugar. Incredible. Mike got the vegan BLT with homemade vegan bacon and homemade vegan mayo. What more can I say?

The second time we went for dinner, which they serve Fridays and Saturdays. Other days of the week they only serve breakfast (including vegan pancakes and French Toast!) and lunch. For dinner they have two vegan and two non-vegan specials, plus the lunch and breakfast menu offerings.  This time Mike got the vegan pot pie and I got the vegan special which was Beef Stroganoff. I loved it. My uncle got the soup which he loved. They have a vegan soup every day.

The most incredible of a totally incredible experience was the dessert. Both times I ordered the Peanut Butter Brownie Crust Vanilla Pie. I just can't write enough about this, or tell you how absolutely delish it was. I will dream about it. Their desserts change but they typically have five or six vegan desserts. Mike got the banana cake and it was crazy good.

Finally, as we left Bay City we stopped by for breakfast. One of the staff told us that vegan cinnamon rolls had just come out of the oven. Oh my. They were incredible.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. We covered them all. All were amazing.

If you are a long-term reader of ours you might know that for me, friendly service is critical in a restaurant experience. I am long past going to a vegan or veg or veg friendly restaurant just to be treated like crap or left feeling like I was in the way or not good enough (or cool enough) to dine there. Every person we encountered at Heather's, including Heather, was beyond friendly, kind, hospitable and helpful. We felt like we were being welcomed into a special place for sure.

Heather's is not exclusively vegan. They serve meat dishes. Their vegan dishes take up a good part of their menu.

We would travel hours to go back. We highly recommend Heather's to anyone who wants to be blown away by delicious, fresh food and incredibly friendly service. They could use your support, too. It's not easy being a vegan haven in the middle of Michigan.

Heather's is at 205 3rd Street in downtown Bay City. Their phone is 989.402.1116.

Thanks for reading. I would love your feedback. My email is vegandude@msn.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

The road trip continues to Michigan

It's difficult to leave Chicago but the focus of the trip was to visit my family so we had to eventually leave and head to Michigan.

Sometimes I think my family had a harder time dealing with my veganism than my sexuality. They all love my husband and are super supportive of us as a couple. Our veganism is still quite foreign to some of them.

So I was totally surprised when my dad said he would join me for a vegan meal along with my aunt and brother Tyler. So after a quick trip to pay respects to my grandparents and take a tour of the Detroit neighborhood where my dad grew up (along with thousands of other immigrant youth) we headed to the wonderful city of Royal Oak and one of our regular stops, Inn Season. Always great food, although the service could be a little quicker/friendlier. Everyone enjoyed their meals and my dad ate all of his! Of course I left with several vegan desserts to take back for Mike and I to enjoy later!


The Inn Season Cafe is only a few minutes off of I-75 at 11 Mile Road. I highly recommend it! http://theinnseasoncafe.com/

Something else I would like to pass on is that we found it easy to find a bunch of vegan products at grocery stories, including Kroger, Meijer and VG's. The Kroger in Essexville where my mom lives had a complete section of "natural" goods that included Daiya, Amy's products, vegan milks and ice creams and much more.

One night my dad's wife took us to The Laundry in downtown Fenton. Several vegan options.

Back to more time with family! Thanks for reading. I'll write again soon and share our favorite place so far for vegan food!

Email me if you have any questions about where we ate or comments: vegandude@msn.com