PETA's Top Honor Goes to Ph.D. Student Dedicated to Highlighting the Link Between Oppression of Animals and Humans
For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2016
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382
Salt Lake City – An impressive combination of compassion and commitment to taking action against injustice has secured 34-year-old Salt Lake City resident and transgender rights activist Dexter Thomas the top honors in PETA’s 2016 Sexiest Vegan Next Door contest. Dexter, who beat out contestants from across the U.S., is the first-ever out transgender winner of the contest. He will enjoy a free vacation for two to Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of Humane Travel—a trip he plans on taking with his mother to celebrate her recent completion of months of chemotherapy and radiation
Dexter, who has been vegan for nearly 17 years, has worked for causes ranging from the bullying of sexual-minority youth to opposing rodeos put on by the Utah Gay Rodeo Association. “I learned firsthand that people are capable of immense cruelty toward others who they perceive to be inferior to them,” says Dexter. “When I started to realize that this attitude drives a transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and so on, I also realized it fuels outdated attitudes toward other animals. This is part of what motivated me to go vegan when I was 17.”
A social psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Utah, Dexter dropped out of high school because of the adversity he faced as a transgender student, but his motivation to be an advocate for animals and homeless LGBTQ youth inspired him to get his GED and go to college—where he graduated summa cum laude. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and taking his rescued cats on walks.
“Dexter’s deep commitment to exposing the common roots of oppression and advocating for individuals in need, regardless of species, makes him number one on our list,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA encourages anyone who’s inspired by our sexy vegan’s strength and compassion to follow in his footsteps and go vegan.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—selected the winners based on several factors, including vote count. Washington, D.C.–based physician Chioma Ohalete snagged the female title. See the full contest details here, or for more information, please visit PETA.org.