June 24, 2016 at 12:15 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
Transgender man named PETA’s ‘Sexiest Vegan Next Door’
(Photo via PETA)

(Photo via PETA)

PETA has named Dexter Thomas one of its “Sexiest Vegan Next Door” winners making him the organization’s first transgender recipient.

Thomas, 32, resides in Salt Lake City and became vegan at age 17. According to PETA‘s website, Thomas advocated for vegan meal options at his high school. However, being a transgender student led to struggles which forced him to drop out.

“I learned first-hand that people are capable of immense cruelty toward others who they perceive to be inferior to them. 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I started to realize that this attitude drives transphobia, homophobia, sexism, and so on, I also realized it fuels outdated attitudes toward other animals.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,” Thomas told PETA.

Thomas went on to receive his GED and graduated summa cum laude from college. He is currently a Ph.D. student of social psychology at the University of Utah.

His other pursuits have included opposing rodeos put on the Utah Gay Rodeo Association and volunteering at the Utah Pride Center. Thomas also spent two years with the National Institutes of Health  “understanding cyberbullying of sexual-minority youth, combating the allure of unhealthy food and promoting healthy plant-based meals.”

Thomas shares the title with Washington D.C. vegan Chioma. The grand prize is a roundtrip vacation for two to Hawaii.

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