Young Man Comes Out as Vegetarian


Apart from a few pickled items, consumption of vegetables has never been a high priority within Mennonite culinary tradition, so when Abram and Kathy Giesbrecht’s son Justin came out as a vegetarian, the family was initially confused.

“You mean you’re not going to eat meat anymore?” wondered Kathy. “Like not even formavorscht?”

Justin, now 20 years old and a second year Theatre & Film student at the University of Winnipeg, said he had known from a young age that he was not really a meat-eater.

“The Mennonite culture is very carnivore-normative,” explained Justin. “It’s just always assumed that you’d like another slice of ham or helping of klopps. A lot of people around here aren’t even aware that vegetarians exist.”

Few restaurants in southeast Manitoba are accommodating of vegetarians, usually offering cucumber salad as the only non-meat option.

“It will continue to be a struggle to gain acceptance and understanding within the community,” said Justin. “I think education is the key.”

Justin’s parents have slowly learned to accept his non-meat-consumption and have said although they don’t agree with his vegetarian lifestyle, they love him anyway and he will always be their son.

(Photo credit: by Arizona Parrot/CC)

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