Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, religion, country of origin, age, and—of course—species. This year, we are more honored than ever to stand with the LGBTQ+ community, encouraging everyone to be proud of who they are: “Be true. Be you.”
Over the years as the organization has grown, Mercy For Animals has expanded its participation in pride events. Studies indicate that members of the LGBTQ+ community may be more likely than the average person to consider vegetarianism, making pride events a great place to reach out to open-minded, animal-loving people.
A History of Pride
In the mid-2000s, Mercy For Animals became one of the first animal protection organizations to march in pride parades around the country. In June 2008, we took part in the Chicago Gay Pride Parade, one of the largest pride parades in the world, where our activists distributed thousands of Why Vegetarian booklets to attendees.
Mercy For Animals continued to march in pride parades in cities nationwide every year, including New York, Columbus, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, promoting compassion, diversity, and social justice for all. In June 2012—our seventh year participating in pride parades—more than 300 volunteers marched in seven parades and distributed a record-breaking 57,000 pieces of literature. Through our Paid-Per-View program, an incredible 1,300 people watched a four-minute edit of Mercy For Animals’ hard-hitting documentary Farm to Fridge.
By 2017, we were participating in annual LGBTQ+ pride parades in many major North American cities, including Los Angeles, Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Toronto. Around the country, activists marched behind a Mercy For Animals banner, waving pride flags. At the time, our organizing manager, Shayna Rowbotham, stated:
Each year, we’re humbled by the outpouring of love as we stand alongside some of the most prominent and compassionate members and supporters of the LGBTQ community—and each year, we’re inspired by the hundreds of dedicated and passionate volunteers who join us at these celebrations.
Pride celebrations in 2019 marked 50 years since the Stonewall Rebellion, an event that sparked the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. In honor of the courage, pain, and persistence that got us where we are today, Mercy For Animals launched a campaign encouraging everyone to proudly embrace who they are.
Also in 2019, Mercy For Animals Brazil participated in São Paulo’s traditional Pride Fair, setting up a demonstration showing how chickens are confined in the egg industry and marching with a banner. We also partnered with Brazilian drag queen and activist Leyllah Diva Black, who composed an exclusive song for Mercy For Animals and debuted it at Brazil’s veg fest.
The following year was difficult for everyone. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread demonstrations calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism, pride was an excellent reminder to embody compassion. Encouraging our supporters to be proud, brave, and kind, Mercy For Animals shared a message of solidarity and highlighted the contributions of Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman and central figure in the Stonewall Rebellion.
Last year, Mercy For Animals encouraged supporters to share what they were proud to be. We worked to amplify inspiring LGBTQ+ voices in the community, including sharing quotes from Courtney Act, Jim Morris, and Mercy For Animals founder Milo Runkle. We also promoted plant-based businesses owned by members of the LGBTQ+ community, posting a roundup of some of our favorite restaurants. At the end of the month, we shared a pride-focused video featuring incredible plant-based influencers and foodies.
This year, we continue to fight for everyone’s right to be respected and free regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or gender expression. Stay up to date by following Mercy For Animals on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!