BY BTL STAFF
In a new short film from the multimedia nonprofit Our Hen House (http://www.ourhenhouse.org) – whose mission is to change the world for animals – a group of passionate activists from the LGBT world talk about how they personally connected the dots and "came out" for the animals, too. The video, "Coming out for Animals," highlights personal stories of connections between gay rights and animal rights, all told while enjoying vegan food.
In the video, Our Hen House founders Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan, the dynamic couple behind the popular "Our Hen House" podcast, speak about the social justice connection between animal rights and LGBT rights, while other LGBT vegans comment on their own second "coming out."
"It was really liberating to realize I could incorporate animal rights into my own life mission," Singer says at the beginning of the video.
"When you think about being gay and being vegan, I always kind of see the coming out process as very similar," says Patrick Kwan.
"When it came to coming out, vegan was harder," Michael Suchman notes.
"It was a lot easier for me first to be vegetarian and go through that struggle and have a lot of people question my decisions and question my lifestyle. Then coming out as a lesbian, I knew that my lifestyle was for me and I had to stay strong," Gabriela Hirsh-Gonsalez says.
"I actually came into the animal rights movement by way of the AIDS awareness movement," Singer reveals. Ethan Ciment made a similar connection, adding, "I was sort of drawn into AIDS activism in the early '90s with 'ACT UP.' I do think that form of activism — taking something that was invisible and making it visible — has completely informed my sense of activism for animals."
"I think there are a lot of gay people in the animal rights movement," says Donna Dennison, "and personally I think it's because we're a compassionate group. Most of us have experienced some form of discrimination, bullying."
"I really didn't think of it as a social justice issue until much later; it was an emotional issue," says Mariann Sullivan. "One of the things that is most important when working in a social justice movement is the importance of allies. We all know if a movement is going to succeed, we need allies among the people who already have the power."
"It was very surprising to me that people in the LGBT community did not view animal rights the same way that I did," Hirsh-Gonsalez adds. "It baffles me that, if you're going to fight for equality, why aren't you fighting for it for everybody?"