Berkeley Vegan Dinner Meetup Message Board › Homophobia & Discrimination on MeetUp - your feedback requested

Homophobia & Discrimination on MeetUp - your feedback requested

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Jenn C.
jennclark
Oakland, CA
Post #: 8
Hi Everyone -

I recently joined a Vegetarian/Vegan oriented meetup group which had several upcoming events listed; one was a "Vegan Singles Brunch"

I was notified by a private message that the organizer had ejected a member from this event & group because he was openly gay, stating to that member that this singles brunch was only for straights.

I posted a comment to the event's page in line with the general tone - and had much the same response - and was also ejected from the group by the moderator.

The event is here: http://www.meetup.com...­

You may have to join the group to find the info, but I am happy to send you a PDF of the event's page so you can see the entire discussion.

My question for the group is this: is this appropriate for vegans, already a marginalized group, to exclude people based on sexual preference from events like this? The organizer of the group does not state up front this is a group focused on a particular demographic based on anything other than vegan/vegetarian (ie, no education, age, or other factors are mentioned anywhere).

If you already belong to the group - please review the discussion and let me know your thoughts. I have already contacted MeetUp's support team for possible TOU violations on the part of the organizer of that group.
A former member
Post #: 37
And this has what to do with this group? Anyway, thanks for the tip. It's nice to find a group that values vegetarians as well as vegans, at least in name anyway. (I've found that vegans generally can't be bothered to get along with anyone with other dietary practices...) Good luck with your complaint.
Jenn C.
jennclark
Oakland, CA
Post #: 12
I guess I'm looking for a reality check - is this guy really allowed to discriminate like this?

What is the experience of other folks with vegan or vegetarian oriented groups - do they tend to be fairly hetero-focused? Is this an accepted norm?

John
user 3272475
Group Organizer
Berkeley, CA
Post #: 3
As I was reading your message, in the margin was a notice for a book lover's group for women. It seems organizers can probably discriminate (some might call this finding like-minded people) however we want, although I would probably have handled that situation differently. Remember that people aren't being denied jobs or housing--these are just social groups, and part of what social groups do is to gather people with commonalities.

I wouldn't say that veg*ns are particularly hetero-focused; I'd say that veg*ns are part of a broader culture that is (notice the absence of non-heteros in commercials).

That said, non-vegans and persons of any sexual orientation are welcome in my meetup, as long as they follow the two rules: (1) make and maintain an RSVP and (2) eat vegan at the event.
Wendy
user 9892369
San Ramon, CA
Post #: 188
Hi Everyone -

I recently joined a Vegetarian/Vegan oriented meetup group which had several upcoming events listed; one was a "Vegan Singles Brunch"

I was notified by a private message that the organizer had ejected a member from this event & group because he was openly gay, stating to that member that this singles brunch was only for straights.

I posted a comment to the event's page in line with the general tone - and had much the same response - and was also ejected from the group by the moderator.

The event is here: http://www.meetup.com...­

You may have to join the group to find the info, but I am happy to send you a PDF of the event's page so you can see the entire discussion.

My question for the group is this: is this appropriate for vegans, already a marginalized group, to exclude people based on sexual preference from events like this? The organizer of the group does not state up front this is a group focused on a particular demographic based on anything other than vegan/vegetarian (ie, no education, age, or other factors are mentioned anywhere).

If you already belong to the group - please review the discussion and let me know your thoughts. I have already contacted MeetUp's support team for possible TOU violations on the part of the organizer of that group.
=====================­========================================­=======
Jenn,

I recently joined that same group and recall seeing your RSVP for the singles event, as well as one from a gay guy who expressed a hope that the queer community would turn out for the event. I remember being gratified to see the diversity; nonetheless, I figured it would probably be like most events of this sort and not be welcoming of or particularly representative of people past their thirties, so I didn't sign up. Last summer I left the San Francisco Vegetarians meetup group for similar reasons: ageism; and then--when I pointed out the ageism--censorship.

If an organizer wants only certains kinds of people (age, gender, sexual orientation, professional standing, economic level, academic degrees, political leanings, etc. etc.) then that should be stated in the Meetup group's description. This is part of defining a group up-front and attracting "like-minded" people and helping interested parties to avoid joining a group where they wouldn't particularly enjoy the company. However, is it NOT okay to form a group, publish an event, and then exclude people after the invitation has been issued. This is tacky, rude, immature, and hurtful.

In my limited experience, this kind of exclusionary behavior seems to be happening with a subset of 20-30-somethings who are very narrowly focused on their own needs and wants and lacking in social graces. I expect their narrow and prejudicial mindset will end up working against them because, as one other (older) offended former member of the SF Vegetarian group pointed out (paraphrased), "What if I have a really hot 25-year old son or daughter? Or a cute co-worker your age whose interests mesh with yours and who might be a good match for you? There's no way I'm going to introduce them to people who treat me like this or tell them about this group!" What goes around comes around, yes?

So, in summary, I applaud you for speaking up. But don't hold your breath expecting any justice from Meetup or a consistently applied social consciousness from everyone in the veg*n community. (It's particularly galling to experience this sort of cr*p in the San Francisco area, isn't it?) Unfortunately, we cannot assume that because a person appears to be enlightened in his/her dietary practices, that that person is enlightened about social interactions with humans.

I will, of course, be terminating my membership in the other vegan group, and letting them know why, should they ask.
Jenn C.
jennclark
Oakland, CA
Post #: 19
Hi Wendy & John - thanks for your responses - both of you hit on many points that I agree with.

Wendy - I agree - the group should state their specific parameters of "like" types up front - and based on the moderator's response(s) and the roster (note that most of the men responding YES to that event are guys with Indian names) - it does seem to me like it is a group of straight guys, possibly immigrants, from a particular background who are looking for "suitable" matches, not so much just to meet other vegans.

I'm thinking it might be appropriate to fill up the Loving Hut that morning with more open-minded vegans -- would either of you be interested in such an event? Could we schedule one with this group for that day - say around 10:30 or 11:00? Might make the moderator think twice about the size & shape of his universe. Of course, we would linger and tip well... :)
Wendy
user 9892369
San Ramon, CA
Post #: 189
. . . .
I'm thinking it might be appropriate to fill up the Loving Hut that morning with more open-minded vegans -- would either of you be interested in such an event? Could we schedule one with this group for that day - say around 10:30 or 11:00? Might make the moderator think twice about the size & shape of his universe. Of course, we would linger and tip well... :)

Lately, it takes a pretty compelling reason/destination to lure me to S.F. primarily for a lunch/brunch, and Loving Hut is not it. Also, since I'm slowly transitioning to raw, I would be more likely to show up for brunches at affordable restaurants focusing on raw vegan cuisine. John runs a wonderful, popular group through this site (the membership numbers speak for themselves) and I believe the good vibes and positive outlook here will continue to attract well-rounded, socially welcoming and emotionally mature folks to the inclusive events.
John
user 3272475
Group Organizer
Berkeley, CA
Post #: 4
Jenn, maybe LGBTIQQ veg*n singles need your help. I encourage you to start a group and organize the kinds of events you'd like to see.

Wendy, thanks for the kind words. I'm gratified to have members of various ages, diets, and sexual orientations in my group.
Jenn C.
jennclark
Oakland, CA
Post #: 23

Lately, it takes a pretty compelling reason/destination to lure me to S.F. primarily for a lunch/brunch, and Loving Hut is not it.

I've never been there - the extensive menu makes me wonder how good the food is. :)

Also, since I'm slowly transitioning to raw, I would be more likely to show up for brunches at affordable restaurants focusing on raw vegan cuisine.

Have you joined the Raw Vegan MeetupGroup that Darcy organizes? They have an event on 3/17 - I'll be there working with RawDaddy. I was 100% raw vegan for January - I maintain a pretty high proportion of raw in my diet, and I have lots of great recipes on Live Green, Wear Black (url is the same plus dot com).

John runs a wonderful, popular group through this site (the membership numbers speak for themselves) and I believe the good vibes and positive outlook here will continue to attract well-rounded, socially welcoming and emotionally mature folks to the inclusive events.

That's a most excellent testimonial!

Jenn, maybe LGBTIQQ veg*n singles need your help. I encourage you to start a group and organize the kinds of events you'd like to see.

Thanks for the suggestion but I'm a project manager for work and prefer to not manage things for my social/recreation interests. It makes them less fun.

Wendy, thanks for the kind words. I'm gratified to have members of various ages, diets, and sexual orientations in my group.
Wendy is good PR! :)
A former member
Post #: 32
The whole meaning of my email thread has been modified.

...it does seem to me like it is a group of straight guys, possibly immigrants, from a particular background ...

It's an example of hatred and bigotry.

Now it's clear! People, who have shown strong nationalism and racism in their behavior, want equality. Does it make sense?

...who are looking for "suitable" matches, not so much just to meet other vegans....

What are they doing? To look for other gays to have s*x?

Any queries can be forwarded to bffrahul at gmail dot com.
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