The term vegansexual emerged in 2007. It was coined by Annie Potts, the co-director of the New Zealand Centre for Human and Animal Studies, and Madala White, at the University of Canterbury. They were researching cruelty-free consumption, with the findings published as Cruelty-Free Consumption in New Zealand: A National Report on the Perspectives and Experiences of Vegetarians & Other Ethical Consumers. Annie Potts and Jovian Parry analysed responses to the term vegansexual following substantial media interest in the study, suggesting ‘that the vigorous reactions of self-identified omnivorous men demonstrate how the notion of alternative sexual practices predicated on the refusal of meat culture radically challenges the powerful links between meat-eating, masculinity and virility in western societies’.
On a number of occasions, I have had questions posed about my take on this. For me, it is quite simple. It is not uncommon to find ourselves attracted to people with different perspectives. It is very likely, and almost certain that we will never meet anyone who has even similar views with us on everything. There are times that the people we find ourselves attracted to have perspectives that we find objectionable. For example, racist attitudes and ideals. For me, if someone I was attracted to made a racist comment and, after this was raised with them, they continued to make such comments, they did not see a problem with this or seek to change themselves, I would not have relations with them. The same for someone who is sexist or homophobic, for example.
Not speaking out against exploitation, once we become aware of the implications of our own actions, is for me unconscionable. I am most certainly going to meet people who say something which has racist, sexist, homophobic and other implications (quite often irrespective or intent). Exploitation is exploitation. If I found myself attracted to someone who is not a vegan (someone who supports the exploitation of animals), I would explain to them why I made the decision to eschew such actions. If they decided to continue to support exploitation (be it based on gender, ableness, sexuality, appearance or other socially constructed notions) — and it is important to note there that this is a choice of theirs — I could not continue and/both have a relationship with them.
For all the reactionary comments about vegansexuals, ask yourself would you have a relationship with a person who is unashamedly racist, sexist, homophobic? For many, including myself, exploiting animals is the same.