Review: Fat Gay Vegan, the book

I’ve followed Fat Gay Vegan for… well much longer than I’ve been vegan. I’ve always admired his commitment to creating an open, inclusive vegan community. One where everyone is welcome. As at tubby, bi, working class girl I can occasionally feel shut out, and I know others have it worse. I was excited to receive a copy of the book Fat Gay Vegan in January’s Vegan Kind box, and after two days of reading I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed.

Just a reminder: I only turned vegan myself back in May, so to me the first couple of chapters, ‘Why Vegan?’ and ‘Vegan 101’ were super useful. Not because I don’t know what a vegan is, or why I am one but because it’s always nice to hear these things from someone who is a bit better at the articulate thing then I am.

The book starts to delve deeper in the chapter ‘Vegan Means Vegan’. And I think any vegan, new or old, is going to love this bit. And learn from it. Life skills like how to politely, but firmly decline things that aren’t vegan (and why it’s not social suicide) lead us into the next chapter: ‘Ethical Vegan’.

This chapter stops you in your tracks, and points out areas you could be doing better. It asks if your veganism is respectful of humans as well as non-human animals. It’s a blueprint for an intersectional veganism that respects all life. But it’s not preaching, it’s not insulting, instead it gently invites you to do better. Encourages you to do better. And if you are wondering how the next chapter on ‘The Importance of Community’ might give you a few tips.

After that the book touches on travelling as a vegan and lays out a hopeful vision of the compassionate future we could create. And overall this book is hopeful, it’s positive. Yes, it’s about the necessary changes we need to make both in the world and the wider vegan community but I’m left feeling like we can make those changes. We can create a world where no animals suffer to feed us, and people aren’t exploited bringing crops to harvest. We can create a vegan community that welcomes all people, that doesn’t use othering to sell its point to a wider audience, that doesn’t exploit others trauma for cheap comparisons. Fat Gay Vegan isn’t a step-by-step guide as to how we’ll manage all that but it gives you a good starting point.

Fat Gay Vegan by Sean O’Callaghan is published by Nourish Books

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