April 16, 2011
Why are lesbians all vegetarian?
Have you ever noticed that there is a disproportionate number of vegetarian and vegan ladies in the queer community? asks Stephanie Davies.
Two lesbians walk into an organic, fair trade, vegan-catered café. So the joke goes. According to Effing Dykes blogger Krista Burton, you can go into any vegetarian restaurant in any town and that’s where the gay ladies in organic cotton t-shirts will be hanging out.
Radclyffe Hall, author of lesbian bible The Well of Loneliness, was strongly opposed to animal cruelty. Jeanette Winterson wrote fiction about fruit for fruits. k.d. lang is a vegetarian, Ellen Degeneres is a vegan, and even self-confessed omnivore Sara Quin wrote the forward to a vegan cupcake recipe book. So what’s the correlation?
Food for thought
The reason that the vagetarian-vegetarian correlation may be so high is because queer folk tend towards the leftish end of the political spectrum to begin with.
It’s all part of being a minority group – being included in a non-mainstream culture exposes one to individuals who share similar thoughts and political and ideological backgrounds.
Could it be that those special herbivores amongst us lost their vegan-ity when they first integrated with others who lauded the benefits of a plant-based diet?
There is something in the “outsider” factor that appeals and draws us. We learn to define ourselves in exclusionary terms: we are vegetarian or vegan because we don’t (or don’t exclusively) eat animal products, and we are lesbian or bisexual because we don’t (or don’t exclusively) sleep with men.
But is it that simple?
Remember that cheesy 90’s flick But I’m A Cheerleader? Vegetarianism is parodied as an indicator of the seemingly heterosexual Megan’s latent homosexuality.
There is a kind of chicken-egg situation happening here (not really an appropriate analogy, but one can hardly use tofu as a metaphor). Is she gay because she’s a vegetarian, or is she a vegetarian because she’s gay?
Being a vegetarian or vegan in the LGBT community is kind of like being a Tegan and Sara fan, or wearing plaid. It might feel incredibly cliché… but it can also feel so, so right.
Of course, it goes without saying that not all gay girls are vegetarians or vegans, and not all vegetarians or vegans are gay girls. Hardcore carnivores, like hardcore vegans, can be found across the full spectrum of the sexual rainbow.
Whether or not being gay is a choice, our diets certainly are. Maybe we will never truly know whether the correlation between vegetarian diets and lesbian lifestyle is coincidence or something deeper.
But for those of us who remain meat-eaters, beware: Remember that age-old adage, “You are what you eat”? Maybe it’s contagious.
Note from the Editor: This article was edited on 27/4/2011 to remove one sentence which had been duplicated from another article. We apologise for this error.
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