June is Pride Month. It’s a time to stand against discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people; to promote self-affirmation, dignity, and equal rights; to increase visibility and build community; and to celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.
Since our inception over 17 years ago, the parallels between LGBTQ equality, animal rights, and other social justice movements have been an important theme in our philosophy and message, as intersectionality is truly part of our core identity at Mercy For Animals.
But we’re not the only ones who believe “No one is free when others are oppressed.” In honor of Pride Month, here are 13 LGBTQ vegan activists you should follow.
1. Mariann Sullivan
Mariann Sullivan is co-host and executive director of the podcast Our Hen House and host of the podcast Animal Law.
Mariann is a lawyer and has taught animal law at Columbia Law School and Lewis and Clark College. She currently serves on the board of Animal Welfare Trust and Animal Welfare Advocacy.
2. Christopher-Sebastian McJetters
Christopher-Sebastian McJetters is a veganism and social justice advocate, staff writer at Vegan Publishers, part-time lecturer at Columbia University, and board member of Peace Advocacy Network. He’s known for speaking about veganism from a black, queer, economic, and all-around intersectional perspective.
You can watch him speak online about everything from how to make the animal rights movement more intersectional to why animal rights is also a queer rights issue.
3. Kayla Worden
Kayla Worden became an ethical vegan in 1989. After years of volunteering for animal rights groups, she decided to dedicate her life to helping farmed animals and founded Full Circle Sanctuary in Warm Springs, Georgia.
Kayla has a bachelor’s in environmental biology and has performed professionally as an actress. She is currently the sanctuary’s executive director.
4. Donny Moss
Donny Moss is an NYC-based animal rights activist. He created the award-winning 2008 film BLINDERS, which exposed New York City’s cruel horse carriage industry.
For the past eight years, Donny has been a force for animals in New York, advocating for animal-friendly politicians and pushing for stronger animal protection laws. Donny is founder and manager of TheirTurn.net, an online animal rights magazine.
5. Erin Kwiatkowski
Erin Kwiatkowski adopted a vegan diet 18 years ago, after reading about the horrors of factory farming. She has since devoted her life to fighting for farmed animals. She works full time with MFA as the global vegetarian support manager, providing guidance and resources to people interested in switching to a vegan diet.
Prior to working for MFA, Erin was an MFA volunteer and spent her weekends tabling and leafleting. When she’s not championing animals, she’s at roller derby skating under the name Braise Seitan.
6. Jasmin Singer
Jasmin Singer is co-host and co-founder of the podcast Our Hen House. In 2016, the NYC-based activist wrote a memoir about her journey through life titled Always Too Much and Never Enough.
Jasmin has written countless articles and opinion pieces for publications such as The Huffington Post. She has also appeared on The Dr. Oz Show.
7. Dexter Mel Thomas
Dexter Mel Thomas has been vegan since age 17. In high school, he led a campaign for plant-based meal options on the cafeteria menu. In 2016, PETA named Dexter “Sexiest Vegan Next Door. He’s the organization’s first transgender winner.
Dexter is currently a doctoral student of social psychology at the University of Utah and spends his free time fighting for equality for all beings.
8. Milo Runkle
Milo Runkle is the founder and former president of MFA. After an abuse case involving a piglet slammed headfirst into a concrete floor at a local high school in rural Ohio, Milo founded MFA to give farmed animals a much-needed advocate in his community.
Milo has been featured in hundreds of television, radio, and newspaper interviews, including on CNN, National Public Radio, and ABC’s World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20. He has also been spotlighted by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.
At age 25, Milo became the youngest person ever inducted into the US Animal Rights Hall of Fame.
9. Jane Velez-Mitchell
While many know Jane Velez-Mitchell as a television journalist and author, she’s also a fierce animal rights activist. In 2015, she launched Jane Unchained, an online show that covers animal rights news.
A dedicated vegan activist, she has attended countless marches and demonstrations. Jane has also hosted MFA’s annual Hidden Heroes Gala. She lives in Los Angeles with her partner, Donna Dennison, and their four companion animals.
10. Jacky Wasserman
Jacky Wasserman is the founder of activist-inspired clothing label BEETxBEET. Jacky studied graphic design in college and has worked with various apparel companies. She created BEETXBEET as a “playful way to bring together her life’s passions: “design, food, and music.
About five years ago she went vegan and now spends most of her time advocating animal rights in the LA area.
11. Pax Ahimsa Gethen
Pax Ahimsa Gethen is a black, queer, trans vegan activist and photographer living in San Francisco. In an interview with Leah Kirts, Pax shared that “Pax Ahimsa” literally translates to “peace” and “do no harm.” Pax added that this idea of doing no harm in the world relates to both humans and animals.
After years of being vegetarian, Pax went vegan at 44 and has since gotten involved in animal rights in the Bay Area, including tabling, blogging, and demonstrating. Pax is motivated by a desire to “liberate all animals from property status.”
Pax’s blog, the funcrunch files, covers news and various social justice issues.
12–13. Derek Walter and Steve Jenkins
You may know Derek Walter and Steve Jenkins as Esther the Wonder Pig’s dads, but this activist couple is truly changing the world with kindness.
In 2012, Steve adopted someone he thought was a miniature pig and assumed Derek would be OK with it. Upon learning that Esther would grow into a commercial-sized pig, the stunned couple realized all animals deserved love and immediately went vegan.
Esther’s story went viral on social media, and the couple used their platform to educate the public on the horrors of factory farming. In 2014, with support from Esther’s fans, they founded Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and abused farmed animals.
In 2016, they released a book titled Esther the Wonder Pig, which soon became a New York Times best-seller. Earlier this year, Esther’s dads shared their life-changing story in a TED Talk.