Transgender Rights Activist Could Be PETA’s ‘Sexiest Vegan Next Door’

Ph.D. Student Says All Living Beings Deserve Respect and Compassion, No Matter Our Differences

For Immediate Release:
May 26, 2016

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Salt Lake City, Utah. – It’s time for PETA to name this year’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door—and 34-year-old Salt Lake City resident and transgender rights activist Dexter Thomas might just take home the title. He beat out scores of other entrants from across the U.S. to become one of 10 male contestants (and the first-ever out transgender finalist) to advance to the final round. Visitors to PETA.org can now help PETA select the two lucky winners—one man and one woman—who will each receive a free vacation for two to Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of Humane Travel.

“Nothing gets hearts racing like someone who’s healthy, fit, energetic, and passionate about social justice, and that description fits vegans to a T,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Dexter Thomas and the other sexy vegans in PETA’s contest are already winners because they’re making the world a better place for all living beings one delicious plant-based meal at a time.”

Dexter went vegan at age 17 and even led a successful campaign for vegan meal options in his high school cafeteria—but the adversity he faced as a transgender student forced him to drop out before graduation. However, Dexter was determined to become the best advocate for animals and homeless sexual-minority youth that he could be—so he obtained a GED, graduated summa cum laude from college, and is now a Ph.D. student of social psychology at the University of Utah.

Among many other efforts to help animals and humans, he has worked with the Utah Animal Rights Coalition to oppose rodeos put on by the Utah Gay Rodeo Association—highlighting the link between the oppression of humans and nonhuman animals—and volunteered at the Utah Pride Center, serving as a mentor and activity organizer for LGBTQ youth. Before pursuing his Ph.D., he spent almost two years with the National Institutes of Health researching ways to promote health and well-being, including understanding cyber bullying of sexual-minority youth, combating the allure of unhealthy food, and promoting healthy plant-based meals.

Voting for the finalists to help PETA determine whom it should select as the winners ends at 12 noon EDT on June 7. PETA will select the winners based on several factors, including vote count. See the full contest details here. Winners will be notified and announced by June 14.

For more information and to cast your vote, please click here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind