Quote I found on a message forum:
“So one of my net friends (an omnivore) was teasing me about not being Vegan enough because I take hormones. Obviously I don’t use Premarin but the pills I do take (like most pills) are not Vegan. In addition to the horror of animal testing, Progynova (estradiol valerate) contains both lactose monohydrate, probably from a milk source, and magnesium stearate, which is probably from beef tallow. I don’t have the ingredient list anymore for my spironolactone but it almost certainly has animal products in it.
Now I don’t usually worry about the origin of funny chemicals that I can’t pronounce, mainly because I don’t eat things with funny chemicals that I can’t pronounce in them. However, I do choose to take hormones to modify my body — it’s not like I’m on anti-rejection drugs or heart medication and I’ll die if I don’t take them”
Transsexuals are people who suffer from severe gender dysphoria, and as a result take hormones in order to transition from male to female. The hormones help give a feminine appearance, and is very effective at treating dysphoria.
The main issue arises from the notion that they are not required medication, they are more along the line of anxiety drugs, but also different than that as well. There is no denying that while the medication does indeed help with depression and feelings of dysphoria, their primary use is cosmetic. So at least in those terms, we have to wonder at which point is a cosmetic drug necessary, and what constitutes necessity.
There is of no debate that someone needing to take a heart medication that contains lactose or gelatin falls within this range, at least for 99% of vegans (There are always crazies) but the argument appears when mental illnesses come into play, as there is a rather large number of vegans who believe that in order to cure all of your medical and mental disorders, that all you have to do is eat Raw, or High Carb Low Fat, or Oil Free, or whatever. And no, veganism is not a cureall for schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc, etc.
In terms of replacements, I am not sure if there is a legitimate vegan option when it comes to hormones. Getting a vasectomy to stop the testosterone, thus reducing or eliminating your need for a testosterone blocker like Spirnolactone might be the only way to reduce the use of that one at least, and injectable estrogen might not have lactose in it (I cannot find evidence it does) but it is very expensive, and might not be a very viable option for most trans women. Not only has there been a shortage as of late, but it is easier to harm yourself with needles. I am not sure of the hormones used for Female to Male transitioning, but I am sure they are similar in context to what I am saying.
That said, I personally believe that Trans hormones would be a medical necessity, and even if you take the pills, you are still vegan. I do not in any way recommend for anyone to ever drop their use of medication simply because they are vegan, and most vegans I have talked to agrees with this.
In terms of animal suffering, 99.6% of animal use and abuse comes comes from farming practices. In relation to that, only 0.2% of animal use and abuse comes from laboratory testing and medicine making, according to a site called Animal Charity Evaluators. And according to PETA, one should not feel bad about trace amounts of animal products that might be in food, and the same can be said about medications.
You are still a vegan, regardless of if you are 99.9% vegan, or 99.7% vegan. It is impossible to live a life where you do no harm to anything ever, and many of us need medications to help us promote the vegan lifestyle and help as many animals as possible. You cannot help animals if you don’t help yourself.
That said, I am not talking about people who claim that they “need” eggs, dairy, or meat to survive, that’s a load of bollocks. But in terms of doctor prescribed medications, you need to do what you need to do.
In short: Yes, you can be transsexual and vegan. Veganism is not an exclusive purity club.