Transgender rights activist Dexter Thomas is the first out trans man to compete for the title of PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Next Door.
The Salt Lake City resident is one of ten male finalists who could win a trip to Maui, after the tabulation of votes cast by visitors to the animal rights organization’s website.
According to PETA, Thomas chose to follow the vegan diet at age 17 and championed changes at his high school to include vegan meal options in the cafeteria. However, his transition as a junior and senior was so difficult he decided to drop out before graduation. That didn’t stop Thomas from becoming an advocate for animals and homeless sexual-minority youth: 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.
And PETA says he’s scored at the top of their contest as well:
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,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in a statement. “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.”
According to PETA, Thomas has worked with the Utah Animal Rights Coalition to protest rodeos, volunteered at the Utah Pride Center as a mentor and activity organizer for LGBTQ youth, and spent almost two years as a researcher with the National Institutes of Health. His work with NIH, prior to pursuing his PhD., combined a better understanding of the intersectionality of cyber bullying of sexual-minority youth and the allure of unhealthy food, as well spreading the word about the benefits of healthy plant-based meals.
Voting ends at 12 noon EDT on June 7. PETA says it will select the winners based on several factors, including vote count. Read details about the contest here. Winners will be notified and announced by June 14.
Click here for more information and to cast your vote.