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London Vegan Meetup Message Board › Story on BBC about vegan dating

Story on BBC about vegan dating

A former member
Post #: 5
Apologies if this has been posted already:­

Dating vegans!

Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 26
I must not read the comments. I must not read the comments...

Oh crap.

Now, it's personal!
user 11028931
London, GB
Post #: 5
oh good lord....Thanks Alex and Robb for doing this....quite poor article and really, don't look at the comments, we've enough crap like that to deal with in real life.

It's so funny, there's been so much movement and development in the vegan ``community'' even since I turned vegan three years ago, yet this article and the reactions could've almost been written any time in the last 10 or 20 years. It's almost like you really are starting from scratch every single time...siiigh.
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 27
It's been interesting to see the reactions to this article - on Facebook, on Twitter and on the BBC website. Most of it's as expected. A largely positive response from vegans. A largely negative response from carnists. (As I intimated above, I had to stop reading the BBC web site as the comments became increasingly personal.) But whenever one sticks one's head above the parapet, it's inevitable that someone's going to take a shot at it. However, I have been saddened at where some of those shots have come from...

I haven't had a good experience with the media in the past. There was time that an industry publication (Revolution, I think) turned "you could say X, but really Y" into just "you could say X", twisting my meaning a full 180°. There was the time that Time Out promised me complete control over the words, then cut out the core message until all that was left was generic and meaningless. So I was wary about being interviewed again. But they promised a link to London Vegan Meetup. And the journalist was a friend of a friend. So I didn't think I'd be crucified this time.

As soon as the article was published, that was my first concern. Had I been stitched up? And on reading the article, I didn't think that I had. The journalist and I had chatted for about 30 minutes in total, so of course it wasn't all going to be there. Of course the journalist was just going to pull out a few soundbites. Of course these quotes were going to be a little devoid of context. And of course they were going to be reworded - maybe to include the journalist's question in my answer in order to make it stand alone. But everyone understands that, right?

Apparently not.

When I first read the article, I didn't even see the quote about Mike Tyson. But that's what got those who I'd have hoped would be in my corner all fired up. How dare I use a convicted rapist as a role model?


I can't remember the full conversation. (And I didn't record it.) But I do recall the journalist asking me about some articles that had been doing the rounds about how even some vegetarian and vegan women didn't want to date vegan guys because they didn't see them as being masculine enough. As @londonfeminist has pointed out on Twitter since, male vegans shouldn't really have to prove their masculinity (and, ironically, female vegans are apparently accused of not being feminine enough!) Nevertheless, I decided to address the point.

Whether it was implicit or explicit in the question, the perception was that vegan men were weak and effeminate. So I wanted a good counter example. A sportsman, for example.

I don't really follow sport. (Not helping the stereotype there!) Much less, which athletes are vegan. So the only one that came to mind was Mike Tyson, as his conversion to a vegan diet had been quite newsworthy. And I think he served to refute the accusation.

But am I holding him up as a vegan role model? Am I using him to promote veganism? Would I have used him if I'd had the opportunity to find a more wholesome example? Will I use him next time? Of course not!

So I'm a little disappointed to be accused of such things from people who surely can't be so naive as to think that there was no wider context to the quotes in the article.

I didn't have the questions in advance. I didn't have any other examples. I don't have media training!

Of course, if they want to judge me and attack me on the basis of a single soundbite, I can't stop them. Personally, I'm going to focus on supporting my fellow vegans (and attacking carnism). That's why I run London Vegan Meetup, volunteer at the Vegan Pledge and at vegan festivals, etc.

And it's why I agreed to do the interview in the first place.
A former member
Post #: 3


I really feel for you. I've had bad experiences with the media in the past too so I know where you're
coming from. I did a radio interview on bbc 3 counties which was less than professional (although at
least they couldn't edit me live!).

Ignore the comments. You do an awesome job :)

Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 28
Interesting follow-up piece: Real men eat tofu steak

While the author was one of those who challenged me on the Tyson quote, we've spoken on Twitter since and they seem quite reasonable, so no hard feelings. :-)
A former member
Post #: 1
Hello :)

It was my meat-eating friend that sent me the bbc link in an email subjected "LOVE :) " - just an example of one meat-eater's positive reaction... hence what got me to sign to this site (not for the dating aspect, just for the comfort of knowing there are plenty of like-minded people out there!)

ps - for future interviews, if you wanna prove that there are 'manly' vegan men out there use Carl Lewis (vegan athlete) and Anthony Kiedis (RHCP - beefy guy for a vegan!!) as examples ^.^
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 29
Not for the dating? Damn. ;-)

Anyway, got to dash. I have an appointment to get Carl Lewis tattooed on the back of my hands.

I just hope my hands are big enough...
user 34696442
London, GB
Post #: 5
hey is the show on bbc catch up? I'd love to see it! Well done you for the great article too. I'm one of those Vegan women who married a non Vegan but in my case (and I'm sure many others) i wasn't Vegan when we met. It never crossed my mind how difficult it might be to be Vegan and single, good luck to you if you are - and at least there's prob a higher %age of hotties in the Vegan community! X
user 8827315
London, GB
Post #: 2
This is my original interview that led to the article as apparently it was popular. They told me 43 million people listen to the show worldwide. Hopefully they got a good impression of veganism, so who cares about a few hundred meatheads moving from denial to anger in the comments (which no one will read), it is progress if they later move on to understanding.

BBC World Service, 20-May-2012, Newshour with James Marshall, 20.00 GMT (21.00 BST), 0:14:00 to 0:21:00. Alex Bourke discusses vegetarians dating non-vegetarians.

And today I did another interview on the same topic on an Irish national talk radio station.
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