Hello! I’m Pooja Rathore, a 25 year old bisexual from Pune. I’m also a vegan and I currently live with my four beautiful fur babies – three cats and one dog.
Back in 2012, while I was still in college I first came out to my friends. I finally gathered up enough courage to accept myself. Two years later, I told my mother about it – when she came to visit me at Pune. I have been so confused about my sexuality as a kid and later I was scared to come out. But thankfully my friends and mother have made this journey stress free.
My mother’s reaction was better than I expected. Luckily, I found my queer vegan family in Mumbai. They’ve given me nothing but love and support. I’m lucky to have such understanding and loving people around me.
Dating As A Bisexual In India:
For about 18 years, I was only attracted to girls but I never had the guts to propose anyone. I met my current boyfriend Pradeep when I was 19 years old, that was the time I realised I’m bisexual. I’ve been on dates with 5 girls and I’ve dated one girl. When I was 17, I dated a toxic guy who was harassing me mentally, emotionally and physically. I needed my friends’ help to say no to him, as I was afraid of him.
My mother has always been on my side giving me the courage to deal with such horrible experiences. Since then my dating experience had been good. Girls in India are still scared to come out so I was never able to talk about it in public. But now I’m really happy with my life and my current partner Pradeep has helped me be however I want to be. Pradeep never told me to hold myself back. I’m unapologetic about my sexuality because I have wonderful people around me. We all need that person who understands us and lets you shine the way you’re supposed to. And luckily for me, I found that person sooner than later in life.
My Decision To Go Vegan:
I rescued animals for the first time when I was 3 years old. I’ve always loved animals and I can’t think of the time when I didn’t. I went vegetarian when I was 4 years old – I went vegetarian because I saw how chickens get slaughtered in a butcher shop. Their screams are still ringing in my ears and since then to now I haven’t touched any animal flesh. I went vegan in 2014 after my friend pointed it to me that the milk which I was giving to the stray dogs belongs to the calf. It triggered me to watch a video of a pig going to the slaughterhouse. I remember how thirsty he was, he all there cramped in a small space and covered in scratches all over his body.
Previously I was working in a fashion designer and later I quit. It was impossible for me to work in an industry which supports fur and leather. I left my job and I met a few activists who do awareness programs and help more people to make the connection. The vegan community of India has helped me understand more about veganism. Since then, I do activism on an everyday basis. Going vegan wasn’t difficult for me because as a kid I was molested by a few people and I had no one to help me and understand my pain. As an adult, I want to use my privilege to speak up for the injustice done to the animals.
Those innocent beings do not deserve to suffer. I want to be that someone whom I needed as a kid. I have a dream to see a compassionate world where all the babies feel safe.
What Is Veganism?
Clearly, vegetarians are one step away from veganism. Vegetarians don’t consume meat but veganism is not just about the diet. Veganism is a lifestyle or a philosophy where we don’t treat animals as commodities. So, as a vegan I don’t use anything which is derived from an animal such as flesh, milk, ghee, paneer, butter, mayo, honey, wool, leather etc.
When you go vegan you choose every product consciously. Which means that you need to simply ask one question before buying a product – ‘does it involve any cruelty?’. Let me tell you that not all vegans are healthy and fit as a lot of junk food is also vegan. Going vegan doesn’t mean being healthy, it only means leading a cruelty-free life without harming the animals. On the other hand, if you wish to get fit and healthy, you should definitely eat a whole food plant-based diet and workout frequently.
People assume that vegans are hippy, hard to have a conversation with (some will often say vegans are extremists) and vegans don’t have fun. All of that is wrong and depends on an individual’s behaviour.
The Health Benefits Of Going Vegan:
A vegan diet helps your mental health as you consciously choose not to harm a being. There are many athletes and bodybuilders who are vegan. They state that their performance has enhanced after going vegan (you can watch the documentary: The Game Changers on Netflix to know more about it). A vegan diet is known to reverse diabetes and many other diseases. Whole food plant-based diet has many benefits if you plan your diet according to your body’s needs.
Nutrients from dairy products, eggs and meat is only half of the truth. Nobody tells us that all these animal products have cholesterol and carcinogenic compound in it. You can easily get all the essential nutrients from a whole food plant based diet minus the cholesterol, carcinogenic compound and the cruelty. Each body has a different need. So, we need to get our body check up done to see what our body is missing and eat more vegetables, cereals and fruits which can full fill your bodies needs. Consult a doctor to see if you need to add any supplement to your diet.
Animals Can Go Vegan Too:
Domestic animals like dogs and cats can go vegan if you provide them with the proper adequate nutrients which their body needs. I have rescued 4 cats, I feed them vegan cat food by Benevo and also I add soya chunks to it sometimes. My dog Bruno eats fruits in the morning and eats boiled vegetables, homemade coconut milk with vegan dog food.
As an animal lover I can’t feed one animal to another but I also make sure that they get nutritious food that is equal to feeding about 80 dogs. I make a mixture of boiled rice, lentils, green peas, spinach, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, flax seeds powder, coconut oil and turmeric. This is the cheapest and healthy dog food which you can feed them without harming any other animal.
India After Decriminalization Of Section 377:
A lot of youngsters are able to share their stories in public out and loud without being afraid. Surely, the Indian public has been more receptive now. But sadly many still suffer from toxic family and friends. We still need to educate kids and their parents about sexuality. Because these rules won’t help the society until everyone accepts LGBTQIA+ community as whole and stop telling their kids that being queer isn’t normal or it’s a disease. Queer kids needs love, not any treatment or therapy.
We need more people and platforms, like Fifty Shades Of Gay, empowering the community and creating a safe space for all of us. This will ensure that our uniqueness can flourish. We need more lovers and community builders. Thank you for being there and helping more voices to be heard.
A Word For The Ones Who Want To Go Vegan:
If you were looking for a sign to go vegan, this is it! Billions of animals are rooting for you. Don’t be afraid of bringing the change. We need you to be on the right side of it. Let’s do this together and make animal liberation possible so that more animals can be free and with their families.
If you face issues or have any questions please feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram handle @veganpooja. I’d love to help you to go through your journey and help you get connected with the like mined people in your city. Much love.
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