Celebrating Our Collective
By Alejandra Tolley
Pride month is a special time here at Veggie Mijas, not only because we get to celebrate all of the revolutionary Black and Brown Trans activists that continue to challenge systemic structures, but also because we have created a community that offers a space for vegan, queer BIPOC folks to discuss the intersections of identity, race, food, and environmental justice.
“Veggie Mijas definitely provided me the safe space, community, and support when I first began exploring my own identity. For that, I am so grateful and only hope to continue fostering that sentiment with everyone who comes into these spaces so that they can grow and expand into their most authentic self,” Ivanna Garcia, our West Coast Coordinator, shared with us.
Certain stigmas have caused folks in the LGBTQIA+ movement to weaponize their identities to reject social norms and use their being as a form of resistance from cis-gendered and straight gaze and preference. One of our writers, Suzy Gonzalez, shares, "It's one of the many parts of me that involves a continued growth and becoming of self through a resistance of hetero colonial structures." Along with our Bay Chapter Organizer, Christian Galindo, and LA Chapter Organizer, Melina Cruz Bautista, they recognize that stepping out of the traditional Latinx family structure means they can live a life that's filled with joy and have full acceptance within themselves.
Our collective is comprised of resilient individuals who fully live in their truths and share their wisdom and knowledge to push our food and environmental fight forward. These issues are an integral part of the LGBTQIA+ movement. Our Recruitment Director, Kat Lopez, reminds us of our past experience’s importance and significance for climate justice.
“I believe that queer BIPOC communities are some of the most expansive, transformative, and creative folks I have the blessing to be surrounded by. We are crucial for the food and environmental movements because our gifts are too precious to not be seen or heard. We come with questions, innovative solutions, and lived experience. The intersections of our identities give us a different perspective for these movements, and I believe that they're valuable!”
We want to achieve LGBTQIA+ liberation, not partake in pride corporate capitalism. We have a long way to achieve total liberation for our Trans siblings, and we need to prioritize stopping transphobic bills and legislation. Our Orlando Chapter Organizer, Monica Divane, shared with us the current laws that passed concerning Trans youth.
“I want allies to help out the LGBTIQA+ community by writing to their law makers about bills that are anti-LGBT. In Florida, they just passed a bill that would make it mandatory to check genitals for someone to be on a sports team. If you support the LGBTQIA+ community, then use your voice to speak up. Donate to the Trevor Project, or a local LGBTQIA+ center, to help out Queer youth. So many kids get displaced when they come out. When you hear something homophobic/biphobic/transphobic, SPEAK UP!”
As we come to the end of Pride, we encourage allies of the LGBTQIA+ movement to extend their support past a 30-day mark and continue to uplift and continuously support BIPOC voices in this fight. Bay Area Chapter Organizer Christian G. shares, “I’d like for our allies to remember that the 'A' in LGBTQIA+ does not stand for ally, it stands for Asexual. It’s crucial for allies to understand that in order to truly support the community the must work on decentering themselves while assuring they aren’t erasing the voices of our asexual siblings in the midst of their alliship. The goal should be to uplift the voices of the community while honoring the folks who have historically paved the way for us to be able to celebrate as we do now.”
Happy Pride to all of you courageous individuals who are able to live freely and fully and who make it easier for others to do so. We celebrate your valiant spirits and will continue to uplift you every day.
What Pride Means to Our Community
Here are some of the amazing folks who make up our Veggie Mijas collective sharing what they want us to take away this Pride season.
Christian Galindo (She/Her, They/Them), Bay Area Chapter Organizer
“I am a brown, queer daughter of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrant parents who both value the act of coming together to share meals from both cultures. Being an organizer with Veggie Mijas has given me an opportunity to be amongst a community of folks where I can be my be my openly queer self and share my love for creating plant-based versions of the various recipes taught to me that I grew up enjoying. Being Latine and queer, it’s my goal to utilize this opportunity to elevate the BIPOC LGBTQIA+ voices and efforts within my community.”
Ivanna Garcia (She/They), West Coast Coordinator
“Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ movement to me means loving yourself in all of its complexities and completeness, honoring yourself fully and having the courage to express and live your happiness authentically.”
Suzy González (She/They), Creative Writer
“Pride is everyday, but I think June is a wonderful reminder to support queer artists and businesses, to acknowledge that our ancestors were queer too, and to spread the truths of the origins of pride.”
Destiny (She/Her/Hers), Nevada Organizer & Coordinator
“As a queer woman of color, finding vegans that looked/identified like me was challenging until I joined Veggie Mijas. I'm grateful to have such a tight community/support system. My queer identity has given me the confidence to go into communities and educate folx on food justice/community organizing.”
Kat Lopez (They/She), Recruitment Director
“It means that I get to live in my wholeness and by extension, those around me have the opportunity to do the same. I live openly and proudly because I feel safe to do so, I know that many don't and can not do this. I believe that it's my responsibility to use my privilege to further support and expand the necessary work in our LGBTQIA+ communities.”
Monica Divane (She/Her), Orlando Chapter Organizer
“My identity has played into my role of Veggie Mijas by creating a safe space for others like me. Veggie Mijas gave that to me, and I’m honored to be able to be an organizer for the Orlando chapter so I could help provide that space for others.”
Melina Cruz Bautista (She/Hers/They), LA Chapter Organizer
“Indigenous Queer Youth: You are all thanked for, continue taking up space. WE GOT YOU!
My community is very traditional yet assertive so I began building community in the city of L.A at a really young age. June of 2018 I began planning for LA chapter’s first vegan potluck. The queer community in L.A. continues growing and showing up for one another. I can truly say it’s been beautiful to witness this growth alongside those I continue growing up with.
Pico Union truly played it’s part in raising me, eternamente agradecida.”
Estefania Rodriguez (She/They), Data Specialist
“Being part of this LGBTQIA+ movement means that I contribute what I can and where I can. When possible, I try to distribute as much information as possible because I know that there are folks -- particularly black and indigenous trans folks -- who are more susceptible to violence than I am. I am also intentional of the BIPOC LGBTQIA+ folks I follow online and read as much of the information they share as possible.”