Monday, December 30, 2013


I have been thinking of this as a topic for a post for a while now.

In my personal life I have had to ask for forgiveness many times.

I have also had to forgive.

In a world that sometimes feels completely filled with hatred and unkindness, with violence, judgement and just plain meanness, being able to forgive or ask for forgiveness can be huge.

I often write about one of my main purposes with this blog: to make this world a better, safer pace for all living beings. That is more difficult to do if I am filled with negativity towards someone, or is I have treated someone in a manner that was unkind in any way.

In a past blog post, one about being kind, I wrote "We do not need to meet hate with hate or unkindness with unkindness." I truly believe this. Just because someone is unkind to me doesn't mean I need to be unkind to them.

Easy? Not really.

Worth it? Totally.

Several years ago I planned a veg fest here in Denver called the Denver Veg Fest. My first event of this type and I had a blast. The great thing was to see a diverse crowd of people, a couple of thousand plus, all there to learn a little about veganism and animal rights (and to try some great vegan food!). Successful in many ways, mainly in that I felt we had created something that was a loud voice for the animals.

In the end, it also became an amazing fundraiser, with me being able to donate thousands of dollars to local and national animal groups.

When I decided to not plan another veg fest, I began to hear that some people were saying, behind my back, that I had "stolen" money from the fest. The fest was my deal, and there were a handful of folks who helped with it who also had a say in the money we raised and where it should be donated.  The people saying negative things about me personally had nothing to do with the all of the hard work it took to put on the fest. I was completely caught off guard by this. The whole idea of what was being said was incredibly hurtful to me. Words definitely hurt.

It took me awhile, but I had to forgive. It was not going to do me or the voiceless I try to be a voice for every day any good if I allowed myself to hold onto anything negative about these folks. All I could do is simply put out there what I did and why, which I did, and then let it go.

And of course there have been many times when I have had to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I try my best to make those times as few as possible.

With so much suffering in the world, with so much hatred, there is just no reason to use our energy in holding onto grudges or being mean to others.

Forgive. Let go. Move on. Build a bridge and get over it.

Then get busy. The animals need you. The poor need you. The activists in prison need. The voiceless need you.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wishing you an amazing New Year

What a year!

I'm sitting here at home thinking about how amazing this year has been for us, for equality, and for veganism.

Some of my personal highlights were vacationing at the beach in Encinitas with my beloved and joining a bunch of vegan bloggers at Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Oregon.

Encinitas is a little slice of heaven just north of San Diego. We rented a little studio on the beach and spent most of our time right there on the beach. Perfect. Add in wonderful friends, delish vegan food and a side trip to Los Angeles and it made for the perfect summer vacation.

At Vida Vegan Con I had the honor of meeting so many people who are changing the world. I left the conference feeling inspired and hopeful for a future that includes more people being a voice for the voiceless and amazing vegan food choices along the way.

Marriage equality spread throughout this wonderful country of ours.

Bigotry persisted.

Ag-gag bills, ones in which it would make it illegal to do undercover animal cruelty investigations, didn't make it to law.

Vegan cuisine became more and more talked about. In Denver, we even got our first vegan market, Nooch, as well as our first vegan restaurant, Native Foods.

This blog, The Gay Vegans, hosted our first non-profit fundraiser and we raised just over 3,600 pounds of dog and cat food for Animal Haus, a local non-profit that gives the food to people who are hurting financially and need a little help in supporting their companion animals. What a wonderful time that was, and it became so successful with the participation of so many of you!

I could go on, and I might in another post, but I don't like my posts to get too long.

Mike and I wish you the most amazing 2014, a year filled with love, joy, activism, compassion and passion. Let's all work together to be a voice for the voiceless and to make this world a better, safer place for all living beings!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kindness rocks

If you are connected to anyone via social media who is even just slightly out about their opinions, your feeds might look like mine in that they contain a lot of back and forth with harsh judgements, criticisms and just plain unkindness.

As I wrote in my last post, there is a lot going on in our country. While a 17 year old high school student, Claire Davis, lost her battle against a bullet shot into her head by a fellow student over  a week ago, tens of thousands of Americans are calling each other names and expressing viewpoints that might be hurtful to others. Forget the love of Christmas or the joy of Winter Solstice, many people are just consumed with opinion, judgement and unkindness.

It is not difficult to be kind to another human being.

As much as I speak up for animals, equality, those living in poverty and those suffering from human rights abuses, I end up running into a lot of disagreement. I get called names and get told to go to certain places.

And I try to be kind back to the person. Most times I succeed. I succeed because its not difficult.

I also know that during the holidays we tend to spend more time with family, or others that might push our buttons. I've read that more people come out of the closet to their family during this time than at any other time of the year. Talk about stress!

I choose to act with kindness. This week that looks like this:

Hanging out in an animal shelter cleaning cages and walking dogs.

Giving a gift to someone who doesn't expect a gift.

Saying hello with a smile to someone I don't know. (If you know me, you know I do this all of the time. Thanks Mom!)

Reminding friends and family how much I love them!

We do not have to meet hate with hate or unkindness with unkindness.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Utah, ducks, free speech oh my!

What a week! I was completely taken by surprise when I saw a news flash yesterday that was about a federal judge ruling that the ban on same sex marriage was unconstitutional. What? And then before I knew it I was looking at a photo of a couple getting married in Salt Lake City. The mayor was marrying them!

The day before, the New Mexico Supreme Court had unanimously ruled that same sex marriage was legal in New Mexico.

If you know your geography, New Mexico is directly south of us and Utah is directly west of us. Salt Lake City is only an eight our drive; Santa Fe five.

Meanwhile, it seems many people are talking about a dude who shoots ducks for a TV show. Apparently he doesn't dig gay people. And he thinks God doesn't dig gay people.

What a conversation this has started. Folks outraged about free speech, many of whom I guess don't even know what free speech is. My understanding, which could be wrong, is that if you say something and the government is crashing down your door that night, dragging you out on the street and then puts a bullet in your head, well that is an infraction against free speech.

Dude lost his job, at least for now. Many Christians are in an uproar. Through all their anger, I haven't heard Jesus brought up at all.

Those gays, they have more rights than us!

People are seriously saying this.

Meanwhile, I am trying to remain peaceful and loving towards all. It goes back to believing that we all have more in common than not.

I don't have to like what you say or like what you do towards others. But I don't have to hate you for it. I can let you know how I feel, hopefully in a loving way, but I'm not going to embrace your hatred.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

No gifts; please donate

It's that time of year again.

Don't get me wrong, I love to shop. I love seeing something I know Mike will just love and purchasing it. I do the same for friends.

Then we get to Christmas and the whole world is buying gifts, in some cases just because. Not because the person is going to absolutely love the gift, but just because.

Please don't do that for me. No gifts please. I have everything I could possibly want. The newest vegan cookbook? If I want it I have it. That really cool animal rights shirt? Same thing.

When someone who loves me and cares about me wants to give me a gift, I ask them to make a donation instead.

My typical request is to ask friends and family to donate to their local HIV/AIDS group or their local animal shelter. My parents have been doing this for years. It works well on so many levels. For me it's much better than receiving a gift. The donation changes the world for a living being.

Many of our readers have donated to the groups we have listed on the main page of the blog. I love that, mainly because these are groups that Mike and I donate to and we firmly believe in the work they are doing.

I recently made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in honor of a relative. This group rocks it in caring for wounded veterans, something important to my relative. Would they have preferred cash? Perhaps. But like any other donation I have made in honor of someone, the donation changes not only the group I donated to but it also changes the person I made the donation for.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Restaurant review - The Ethiopian Restaurant

Mike and I had a dinner date last night. Friday night is usually our weekly dinner at Tarasco's, but last night we decided to go to The Ethiopian Restaurant. We have always loved this place but since it is on the east side and we live on the west side, it's not always convenient, especially if you are already hungry when you decide to go.

We both were reminded that a meal at The Ethiopian Restaurant is one of the best vegan meals in town.

We always get number III, the vegan combination platter. And I mean platter. Packed with lentils, greens, potatoes and cabbage. The flavors are crazy, and oh so satisfying. Every platter is served with Injera, a flat bread that just ads to the overall meal. You scoop up food using the Injera to eat all of the deliciousness.

Owned by a sweet Ethiopian couple, we have always loved coming here and always loved the meal. It does take time, as everything is made to order. Totally worth it, just don't arrive so hungry that you're grumpy.

They recently have re-done the floors and have gorgeous wood floors. The space is one simple room, with twelve tables or so and Ethiopian art on the walls.

Beer and wine served.

Bring cash, as they do not take credit cards.

The vegan combination platter we get is $12.95 per person.

Check it out!

The Ethiopian Restaurant
2816 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO  80206

Hours are daily 11am - 11pm. They have been known to change so keep that in mind!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We all have more in common than not

One of the things I try to promote with The Gay Vegans blog is that in my opinion, we all have mroe in common than not.

What I really mean with this statement is that I might disagree with you on one point, and another, and another. Yet it in the big picture of life, what we do not agree on or what we do not have in common is pretty small compared to everything that we agree on or have in common.

Why does this matter?

I usually start with 9 billion.

That is the number I use that represents the amount of animals being killed for food in the US alone in one year. It does not include animals in labs, in circuses, in "fashion". I also don't think it includes living beings killed in our oceans or jailed in places like Sea World.

It's a big number. Each living being being forced to live in fear, live with torture and pain and cruelty.

I am vegan because I want to do the least amount of harm as possible during my time on earth.

So with the statement about what we have in common, I also mean that in order to be a voice and to make change, we need to set differences aside and focus on the 9 billion.


Or on poverty, marriage equality, homelessness, fill in the blank.

Why spend one ounce of energy focusing on a difference, on a disagreement, when we know that energy takes away from us being a voice for the voiceless or making the world a better place for all living beings.

It's not easy. In fact, it can be outright difficult. But it can be done. It has to be done.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another World AIDS Day - In Loving Memory

December 1st is World AIDS Day. I write about this every year. Typically one of the least read posts I write.

I'm not sure why.

AIDS changed my life. Forever.

I remember the dark days. One death, then another, then dozens more.

The year my dear friend Felix died, 1992, over 40,000 other people, mostly gay men, also died.

In memory of all of those beautiful people who lost their lives. I will never forget the horrible loss, the bigotry, the hate, the disgusting words from politicians. I will also never forget the incredible community that came together to fight AIDS and to fight the bigotry, or the huge amounts of love.

This post is in loving memory of everyone who lost the battle. It was indeed a battle.

And it is not over.

In 2010, 15,529 people in the U.S. lost their battle.

In 2011, just over 49,000 people in the U.S. became HIV-positive.

For me, World AIDS Day is always about remembering. I will always remember. I will remember their impact on my life, their love, their friendship, their hugs, their smiles, the impact they had on me and the world they lived in.

I will always remember.

Thanks for reading.