Two queer people kissing in a pride flag The queer community needs our support all year round - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

LGBTQIA+ People Are For Life, Not Just Pride Month

We appreciate your support in June, but we need you to stand beside us every single month

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5 Minutes Read

As a vegan “influencer” and “content creator” (cringe, right?) whose job it is to spread news about plant-based products to the hungry masses, I get extremely busy when January rolls around each year. Brands are desperate to climb aboard the Veganuary express and ride it until the green dollars and pounds start rolling in.

Similarly, vegan brands and non-vegan companies making plant-based products start clamouring for my digital attention as June looms due to the fact that it is Pride month.

My online name is Fat Gay Vegan. So I’m kind of like an irresistible temptation to companies looking to shout about plant-based consumerism during Pride month. They can’t resist the promise of combined pink and green revenue streams.

Sean O'Callaghan (Fat Gay Vegan) speaking on a panel
Stuart Robinson Sean O’Callaghan (left), known as Fat Gay Vegan, speaking on a panel

I am a loud and proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and they want me to put my clout behind the stuff they are selling during Pride. If you are reading this in June, I’m currently struggling under the weight of vegan corporate sponsorships and offers of free plant-based meals for me and my husband.

I’m not complaining about the free stuff and paid opportunities of course. But I do find it startling how instantly these offers dry up once I flip to the July page of my calendar. They really don’t want to know about me or my queer community anymore.

But just as we tell people about dogs at Christmas, I’m here to say a Fat Gay Vegan is for life – not just Pride month.

Rainbow washing

A lot of vegan brands and restaurants launch special Pride menu items or products in June. And, they will usually direct some of the profits to charities working to challenge homophobia and transphobia.

But the challenging situations LGBTQ+ people experience in June are experienced in other months, too!

The forces of oppression that make life more difficult for LGBTQ+ people are very real all year round. So while we welcome solidarity and visibility during June, we also desperately need your commitment to our communities the other 11 months as well.

A gay couple lying in bed playing with their baby
Adobe Stock LGBTQIA+ people must navigate oppressive systems all year round

To put it bluntly, your rainbow bagels and fairy cupcakes make our month of celebration and protest more visible. But our fight for legal protections, mental health infrastructure, safer sex education, shelter, and transgender health support is a year-long battle. Year after year.

We appreciate your support in June and don’t mind giving you some of our money, but we need you to stand beside us every single day on the yearly calendar.

How to be an effective ally

If you are in a position to call the shots in a vegan business, here are some pointers on what your brand might do to be an effective ally to the LGBTQ+ community. If you are a vegan consumer, use these pointers as a scoreboard. How well are your favourite vegan brands doing when it comes to championing queer communities?

Representation matters and always will. If you have a marketing budget and want to feature real people modelling your products, look for a diverse line up of community members that reflects reality. Same sex couples are getting a bit more of a look in when it comes to big budget advertising, however non-binary, gender non-conforming, and transgender people are invisible to advertisers despite existing in real life. Your company can make a difference in this regard by making diverse model casting regular practice. 

Take a moment to consider what your brand is signal-boosting on your social media platforms. Are you supporting LGBTQ+ groups and initiatives year round? Or are you falling into the trap of being a Judy just for the month of June? Make your support for minority voices more meaningful by boosting throughout the year.

How does your vegan business recognize gender and sexuality diversity in the workplace? A simple way to make people feel valued and seen is to make it common practice for every person on the team to self-identify when it comes to preferred pronouns. Not all of us are “he” or “she.” Some of us might not agree with the pronoun the world wants to assign, or we might like “they” and “them.” Make it simple and normalized to include preferred pronouns within email signatures and on staff name tags.

Queer people celebrating Pride Month
Adobe Stock It’s time for businesses, vegan and non-vegan alike, to take meaningful action towards inclusivity

Fighting oppression in all its forms

Seriously thinking about LGBTQ+ visibility and inclusion in your business is also a fabulous time to address other forms of oppression. Many vegan people navigate the ugliness and violence of racism, sexism, gender-based violence, wealth inequality, and ableism. Some of these vegan people will also be LGBTQ+ identifying. The more positive things your vegan business does to challenge all forms of oppression, the more people you will be working to protect. 

In closing, I’d like to issue this challenge to vegan and non-vegan businesses looking to advertise during June. Put your mouth where your Pride month advertising money is and support LGBTQ+ people all year round.

And if you’ve got money to spend as a plant-based consumer, don’t shy away from asking your favorite businesses to do more for queer people… and ask them to do it 365 days a year. We are not going anywhere.

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The Author

Sean O'Callaghan

Sean O'Callaghan is a community organiser, vegan activist, and social media personality known as Fat Gay Vegan. Based in London, Sean loves potato and enjoys supporting independent vegan business.

More by Sean O'Callaghan iconography/arrow-right

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Soliel
Soliel
1 month ago

This feels very self centered and entitled to me. Companies are doing you a favor by giving you products in June. They are not obligated to help anymore, they have a business to run. It is not their job to be your personal savior for the gay community. Their job is to stay a live and promote plant based eating. That is enough. I have always accepted the gay community and every one should be treated with respect but this constant pushing of the culture is inappropriate. This is really about ANIMALS not the gay community, although, of course we welcome all. Plant based companies are not obligated to take your cause. At first I was going to check out your blog but no more. YOur attitude that the world should revolve around you and your cause has become a huge turn off.

Last edited 1 month ago by Soliel
Soliel
Soliel
1 month ago

As a super long term vegan who has accepted and appreciated the gay community I am totally against the push of drag queens onto children and our culture as a whole. It’s disgusting what they are doing in front of children. Totally inappropriate and child abuse. I used to appreciate drag queens for their artistry and thought they were fun but they are really taking a negative turn being super sexual and inappropriate.

Last edited 1 month ago by Soliel
Holger Lundstrom
Holger Lundstrom
1 month ago

As much as I respect your street name, I don’t believe LG…-people need “our” support or interest. You’re free to do whatever you want. If you get harassed, call it out to the responsible entities, just like everybody else. LG…-people claim that they want to be treated normal just like everybody else, but at the same time it seems some of them can’t resist trying to prove to everybody how special they are. Pick one or the other.

I know plenty of gay people who lead perfectly normal lives. I’m sure some people dislike them, but some people also dislike me even though I’m straight. There’s always gonna be somebody who doesn’t like you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Holger Lundstrom
Jackie
Jackie
27 days ago

Wow! I’m gob-smacked that a Vegan would write such a negative, small minded response to Fat Gay Vegan’s article. Come on! As a straight, white senior female, even I see the value in everything FGV writes. For heaven’s sake, it’s not that hard to show the support and love all year round!!! It would help make the world a kinder, gentler place. Cut the negativity.It’s very unVegan like. (No mean spirited responses are necessary.)

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