Is it enough to simply call yourself a vegan? Can others just not be vegan enough?
We don't eat meat, fish, egg, or dairy because factory farming is so cruel to the animals and to the earth. But what about honey -- do we care about the plight of the bees? And then there's white sugar, which doesn't contain animal products, but about 50% of the time we know that bone char was used to process it. And then, what about products that may have been processed in a plant that uses cow milk, that may have "traces of milk"? Do we shun these items too? Or how about the mono- and diglycerides? And then organic vs inorganic.
For full disclosure, I'll tell you what I do: I do not consume egg or dairy. Every so often, I'll eat something with honey in it, though I try to avoid it. I do have some regular sugar in my house, though I usually purchase organic sugar, and I regularly purchase and eat food with white sugar. And the "traces of milk" really doesn't bother me. I purchase organic produce when it is reasonably priced and available. My reason for being vegan is my abhorrence of factory farming -- I try not to get too caught up in the minutia, or I'll make myself crazy and the message is lost.
Also, I do not wear leather. This is a real pain because I wear a size 12 shoe, preferably in a narrow, and places like Mooshoes don't carry a lot of size 12s. I certainly don't wear fur (though when I was 10 I did own an alpaca fur jacket, but I had no idea back then). I don't buy merino wool any more since being educated by PETA's campaign of the cruelty of that industry. However, there are a few wool and silk items in my closet, but I now try to avoid buying these things.
When I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I used to absolutely freak out if I found out that there was chicken broth or gelatin in something that I ate. Now as a vegan, I realize how ubiquitous animal products are, and I do my best to avoid them. If I slip and find out something I ate wasn't totally vegan, I remind myself that I do more than most to eat a cruelty-free diet and I don't do it again.
My brother is a lacto-ovo and has been one since age 10 (he's now 27). He lives in LA and has the luxury of being able to eat in only (or mostly) vegetarian restaurants and will not go anywhere that serves veal or lobster. I wish I lived somewhere where I could do that.
Am I a real vegan? I'm not perfect, but I do my best. I commend anyone who realizes the cruelty of factory farming and the unnecessity of animal products in a human diet. Anyone who avoids beef, or chicken, or whatever -- more power to them, they're doing better than most.
So whatever you do, for the farm animals, for your health, and for the planet, keep doing it, and resolve to do more.