1) What made you decide to go vegan?
My first steps into exclusively plant based living was in 2003 when I was 17. I saw it as something I could do to be more extreme than my peers. At the time I was just getting into really extreme metal, oh and I still ate bee’s puke aka honey. I wasn’t vegan.
We didn’t have loads of vegan products at the time either. We had tofu and vegetables. I got bored really quickly because I couldn’t cook and just went back to being a fussy omnivore aka a vegetarian . (I’d been a vegetarian since I was 14, having seen something similar to the Meet Your Meat video in a food technology class. I wish someone had told me I could do more then, I might have listened.)
It was a few years later when I was 20 that I started to read disturbing things about the way that we use animals in society online. Before I’d just been concerned with whether an animal’s life was taken from them. Soon and after not much reading, I realised that we could not justify the use of any animal for human pleasure. That’s what eating animal products is after all, palate pleasure. I watched some videos and I read some recipes. I went vegan and have been that way ever since.
2) How do you live without cheese?
How do you live with it? It’s a great big lump of fat, blood and pus. It’s also not addictive, so stop using that excuse.
There are vegan cheeses available with some that are better than others. You However and to be honest, I very rarely buy them. When you become vegan the way you cook changes, especially if you are not eating a ton of replica meat products, which are processed to hell and everyone should keep to a minimum.
You also eat different foods. Here’s my pre-vegan diet:
Breakfast: Toast and cereal with cow’s milk and cow’s butter.
Snack: Snickers bar
Lunch: Processed meat with processed potato with spaghetti hoops.
Snack: A clementine
Snack: Ham sandwhich with cheese
Dinner: Bird’s Eye chicken lattice with new potatoes and spaghetti hoops
Supper: Sardines on toast
What I eat now:
Breakfast: Porridge with a nut and seed mix and soya milk
Snack: Banana smoothie
Snack: Apple, orange
Lunch: Three bean soup
Dinner: Kale with Eygyptian spiced leek, potato and beetroot topped with two soysages
Snack: Peanut butter on a rice cake
….and it’s different every day. I can’t stand eating the same stuff now. I remember my pre-vegan diet because it was the same, always. Everything was centred around something from an animal and now there is no centre piece. If anything the centrepiece is the flavour.
3) What does GQ actually mean?
GQ stands for Gender Queer. Wikipedia describes it quite well:
Genderqueer (GQ; alternatively non-binary) is a catch-all category for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following:
- having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.
- two or more genders (bigender, trigender, pangender);
- without a gender (nongendered, genderless, agender; neutrois);
- moving between genders or with a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid);
- third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender;
Some genderqueer people also desire physical modification or hormones to suit their preferred expression. Many genderqueer people see gender and sex as separable aspects of a person and sometimes identify as a male woman, a female man, or a male/female/intersexgenderqueer person. Gender identity is defined as one’s internal sense of being a woman, man, both, or neither, while sexual identity refers to an individual’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to others. As such, genderqueer people may have a variety of sexual orientations, as with transgender and cisgender people.
In addition to being an umbrella term, genderqueer has been used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity, i.e. those who “queer” gender, expressing it non-normatively. Androgynous is frequently used as a descriptive term for people in this category, though genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression and not all identify as androgynous. However, the term has been applied by those describing what they see as a gender ambiguity.
Personally I really dislike being called he or she. I’m just Emz.
4) How do you fit it all in? (Training etc.)
I think if you want something bad enough, you’ll make time. It’s hectic, but it gets the job done.
5) What does Child Free really mean?
To me it means that I am choosing, purposely not to have biological children. People choose this for various reasons, but for me the main one is over population.
When my mum was born, there were less than 2.5 billion people on the entire planet. By the time I was born in 1985 (37 years later) there were 4.8 billion people on the entire planet. In forty years we more than doubled the Earth’s population. As we come into 2014, we are looking at a human population of 7.1 billion. Many scientists believe that the tipping point for resources, land, water, food etc is 9/10 billion. After that we will begin a downwards spiral of mass starvation, fresh water wars and possible extinction. Up until that point it is believed that if we reduce our population expansion, we may actually have a future. This issue is more important for our long term future on this planet than climate change.
My opinion as to why people aren’t talking about it and don’t want to change is simple:
a) People are inherently selfish and do whatever satisfys them regardless of the consequences for others.
b) Governments and religion actively encourage people to breed so that they have a larger work force, army, following and are therefore more powerful.
c) There isn’t any money to be made from a child free person.
6) Do you hate children?
No. I just think, on top of what I have said above, that we should look after the ones we have properly before we even remotely consider bringing more into the world.
7) What is your favourite animal organisation?
I don’t support animal organisations. They do not promote veganism as the end goal to ending all animal exploitation and many of them are in business partnerships with animal agribusiness. For example Peta and KFC.
8) Where do you get your protein?
Everything has protein in it, even lettuce and potatoes. I eat food so question answered.
9) How much time should we devote to reaching out to other progressive groups about veganism and what are effective ways to do that?
I think we firstly need to concentrate on getting a mass turnaround from single issue and welfarist campaigns by animal rights activists. All major change happens at the grass roots of movements. However on the otherhand, if we had more groups such as Viva, Peta and Animal Aid promoting a purely abol;itionist agenda, I think more people might start to see the light without the constant backlash upon entering discussions with them now.
This is a difficult question to answer because I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer.
10) Do you believe in conspiracy theories?
I believe sometimes that there is more to a story than the official version tells the public. I take each individual incident as it comes. I wouldn’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist, no.
11) Why aren’t you pro-life?
By pro-life, this question means human life.
I believe that every human being should have free choice to do what they want with their lives and their bodies as long as it doesn’t hurt others. Having loads of children hurts others. Using animals as resources hurts others. (As detailed above) However removing a ball of cells from a woman’s womb does not hurt anyone. Even later abortions where the ball of cells looks like a miniature human, it has been proven time and time again, by medical science, that there is no consciousness and there is no pain, pretty much like a plant. If the ball of cells cannot survive outside of the womb, then an individual woman has every right to remove it from her body. If the ball of cells can survive outside of the womb, without massive 21st century medical intervention, then you probably left it a bit late and I don’t agree with that.
In my opinion you shouldn’t be pregnant in the first place for reasons stated above, however if I found myself pregnant I would get an abortion without a second thought or hesitation. Mykey agrees with me wholly.
12) How do you feel about direct action?
Direct action is a single issue campaign and therefore does not coincide with abolitionist vegan methodology. (You can read more about this in my animal rights section.)
Let’s take the action of the Hunt Sabs in the recent, “Sab the Cull” campaign. I am yet to hear how that has actively created a vegan world or even a substantial move towards it. Why? Because it hasn’t! By focusing on a single issue, it has made others feel better about different types of animal use i.e that the type of animal use they are participating in is not as bad because you aren’t protesting against it. (Again this is detailed greatly in my AR section, read it.)
If an animal was in trouble for whatever reason and we were able to help her, then we would. However I wouldn’t spend my valuable time and money running around a field before light, because that is not an efficient way to create more vegans. Me talking to, cooking for, handing out leaflets to and promoting veganism to people does.
I know the mainstream animal rights movement sees the Hunt Sabs and ALF as some sort of gods, but we have to be realistic. This type of activism has been around for 40+ years in the UK and is it working? Have we seen an end to the use of animals in medical experiments or a complete ban on hunting? Have we seen a sizeable change towards veganism? No! Stop wasting your time, effort and money on things that aren’t creating a vegan world and start creating it. You owe the animals that as an absolute bare minimum!