Hi! I'm Steffany and I'm a 27 year-old black feminist vegan who works at a STEM empowerment program for girls. I also study race, class, gender, and American Society in the Pacific Northwest.
My journey to veganism has been chaotic. Beginning in my teenage years, I fluctuated between diets, from meat-eating to vegetarianism to veganism. I've now been vegan for over a year and I have come to realize that variations in my diet and ability to connect with animals have always been deeply interconnected to other personal struggles regarding mental health and cultural identity.
I have suffered from major depression from a young age and my return to veganism in 2015 coincided with a hospitalization for mental illness. When my mental illness was treated, I found that my ability to deeply connect with animals (both human and nonhuman) had returned and I was no longer able to even consider consuming animal products. Vegans often highlight the mental health benefits that come from plant-based diets. My experience taught me to also place more emphasis on the importance of developing mental health and self-compassion, so we may in turn have compassion for other human and nonhuman animals. I think this is especially important for oppressed and marginalized groups.
This experience is one of countless reasons why my partner and I have just started a vegan blog called The Intersectional Vegan, where we are trying to develop another safer space for multi-issue vegans. We hope to help educate and learn about the myriad ways that veganism and animal liberation are deeply connected with other mental health, physical health, political, social, environmental issues.
Aside from typical racist/sexist stuff that comes from some various vegan communities, my current experience as a vegan is great! I'm lucky to have access to affordable vegan food in my neighborhood stores, to have the privilege of connecting with others through the internet, and to be in love with an amazing cook who has been vegan for ten years. I have been lucky to be featured on AFROPUNK as well as guest blogging about veganism at Tamara McDaniel Presents!