Vegetarian shaming: Why am I not allowed to abstain from meat?

In the past year, I have slowly been weaning myself off of meat. A couple of months ago, I decided to tell my friends, my mother and my significant other. Almost universal acceptance was what I received from them, and that’s all I expected from the matter.

A couple of weeks later, I was busy ordering food before a class at Which Wich, and I complained to myself out loud that there aren’t enough vegetarian options, I overheard another student say I should “get over it and eat a burger.”
This was a person whom I did not know, and had no business commenting on what I had said, yet they felt the need to chastise my decision to not eat meat, and my feelings that there was not a fair amount of selections.

Another time, someone asked me why I didn’t get any meat for my meal. I plainly told them that I don’t eat meat, unless when absolutely necessary.
They took great offense to this statement, and said that there was “nothing wrong with eating meat” and that I should “stop judging [them].” It is of great irony that they accused me of judging them, when they were sitting across from me, persecuting my choice, which they had asked me about in the first place.

I have received more of the same criticism, as has my boyfriend who also adopted a similar vegetarian lifestyle. We are constantly sent snide remarks and angry glares by passerby students, and even sometimes our friends, who are jaded that we won’t eat meat with them when we are out having fun.

I raise the question, why can I not choose to eat meat, why is this such a public decision?

I do not tell people that I am a vegetarian unless they ask. I am not the type of vegetarian who promotes the shaming of meat eaters.
I just want to live my life how I see fit. Please leave you opinion out of my, and my boyfriend’s choice to abstain from meat.

We do not judge you for not eating meat, so please do not judge us for choosing not to.