*Photo credit: Elli & Faz and cargocollective.com

Elli: Welcome everyone! My name is Elli.

Faz: And I’m Faz. We’re a queer couple…

E: …and vegan! This means that we don’t eat or consume any animal products. That means no meat, seafood, fish, eggs, dairy, cheese, gelatin or even honey.

F: Yes, you heard us! No cheese!

E: In this column we’re going to review vegan places, restaurants and shops all over Bangkok, rating both the food and how they fare on the QueerMango’s Queerometer.

F: Why? Because these two identities – queer and vegan – are connected in ways you may not have thought.

E: Veganism and vegetarianism has for a long time been a part of Western queer culture, especially in the U.S., Canada and Australia. There’s a long-standing stereotype that queer women are usually vegan/vegetarian. Any idea why?

F: I guess an explanation might be that being vegan means questioning our beliefs. I used to think that cows and chickens were happily playing about in a cute little farm, giving up their ‘extra’ milk and eggs whenever they had too much. Of course, this isn’t true. The milk and egg industries pay good money to keep the horrific living conditions of these animals under wraps. Once I saw evidence of this, I didn’t find it too hard to believe that we were being sold a lie. I mean, think about the lies and stereotypes that surround queer people to this day! Think about it… there’s nothing wrong or unnatural about being queer, so why are people so afraid to embrace it?

We’re going to review vegan places, restaurants and shops all over Bangkok, rating both the food and how they fare on the QueerMango’s Queerometer.

E: It could also be because the agriculture industry takes part in some really sexist practices. Dairy cows spend their entire lives being forcibly impregnated so that they keep producing milk, and have their children taken away from them almost immediately after giving birth. In English-speaking countries, the device used to restrain cows when they’re impregnated is actually referred to as a “rape rack”. These cows are abused just because they have a female reproductive system, and that’s sexism. Queer women know how much sexism affects our day-to-day lives, and, for me, this extends to non-human animals.

F: I think it extends beyond sexism. Eating meat is so caught up in Western gender norms! Think about it… Western society sees meat-eating as very macho and vegetarianism/veganism as a frail and feminine thing to do. Why is that? Men in many other cultures refrain from eating meat, especially in Bangkok. I think queer people are used to questioning the gender binary itself, and way less likely to have to prove their ‘strength’ by eating other animals.

E: Yeah, being queer means taking a step outside of society’s mainstream beliefs. When you’re pretty much forced to question the expectation that you have to be straight, you learn how to question other long-standing societal institutions as well. For me, this has let me become more aware of things like racism, classism and now speciesism (discriminating against other species) as well. Things that we assume are “natural” suddenly aren’t. Is it “natural” for all women to be attracted only to men? And is it “natural” to create systems where animals spend their entire lives being born and brought up only to be used by us for food, that we can easily get elsewhere?

F: Wow… we got pretty intense there. Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge. Even though we have some strong beliefs behind us, we understand that being vegan is a choice. Personally, I understand that everyone can’t make the same choices all the time.

Yeah. I personally don’t give a crap if the people around me are eating meat. For me, veganism is more of a philosophy rather than a strict set of rules to follow – it’s all about equality and treating each other with respect.

F: I will say that since being vegan, I’ve enjoyed food 100% more.

E: Yeah, and there are some awesome food options for vegans and non-vegans, queers and non-queers alike in Bangkok!

F:   And we plan to explore every single one of them. You, dear readers, will get the low-down on some of the best food in the city. And if you’re harming a few less animals while you do it, why not?

E: We’ll also be looking at how queer-friendly each of these places are. Because veganism is all about equality, everyone should be able to go to vegan places and feel welcome and accepted. Otherwise what’s even the point?!

F: So, let’s get started. Our next column will be on the greatest thing to happen to cakes since egg-replacer: Veganerie!

E: So we’re going to go stuff our faces with cinnamon rolls for the sake of journalism. See you guys then!