What does it take to be crowned PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door? Beauty inside AND out, because ain’t nothin’ sexier than compassion.
Dexter and Chioma are this year’s winners, and they’ll both receive a trip for two to Maui, Hawaii, courtesy of and donated by Humane Travel.
Salt Lake City
Dexter is PETA’s first-ever out transgender winner. He has been vegan since he was 17 and even led a successful campaign for vegan meal options in his high school cafeteria—but he dropped out because of the hardship he faced as a transgender student. Dexter was determined to become the best advocate for animals and homeless LGBTQ youth that he could be, so he got his GED, graduated with high honors from college, and is now a Ph.D. student of social psychology at the University of Utah. He is truly an inspiration to us ALL!
“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I started to realize that this attitude drives transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and so on, I also realized it fuels outdated attitudes toward other animals.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.”
Dexter has also worked to oppose rodeos put on by the Utah Gay Rodeo Association—highlighting the link between the oppression of human and nonhuman animals—and volunteered at the Utah Pride Center, serving as a mentor and an 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 cyberbullying of sexual-minority youth, combating the temptation of unhealthy food, and promoting healthy plant-based meals. You’ve certainly outdone yourself, Dexter!
Chioma went vegan seven years ago and says that the change has helped reduce her allergy symptoms and keep her healthy, which comes in handy in her job as a family physician. She’s even persuaded the hospital she works for to incorporate more healthy vegan food options. And she uses the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s Power Plate posters at work to help explain how plant-based foods can help patients live longer, stay slimmer, and cut their risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Chioma has participated in the PETA Pack as well as many local demos, including being painted like an alligator to protest the cruel exotic-skins industry. Ummm … can this woman be MY doctor, please?
“I’ve really enjoyed the physical health benefits of not eating food made with animals,” says Chioma. “I also enjoy the spiritual health benefits of knowing that I’m not contributing to the abuse of other living beings.”
The SoCal transplant loves to cook, and when she’s not trying out a new vegan recipe, Chioma enjoys bicycling and wants to travel the world. Now, she can cross Hawaii off that list. Animals are lucky to have you on their side, Chioma!