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“Nature doesn’t care if you’re gay or straight”: meet the gay farmers queering agriculture

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Rural isolation and outdated attitudes can make agricultural life a struggle for gay and queer men. Here, four LGBTQIA+ farmers open up about their experiences WORDS BY RYAN CAHILL PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICHARD DOWKER Back in 2017, the film God’s Own Country was released in the UK.

Directed by Francis Lee in his film debut, the flick starred the brilliant Josh O’Connor in the lead role as a rural gay farmer who falls in love with his Romanian farm hand.

With themes of isolation, homophobia and loneliness, it delivered a powerful message about the plight that farmers – and especially queer farmers – face in their day to day lives.

But seven years on, has much really changed in the world of agriculture? A parliamentary committee recently found that the government is being “complacent” regarding rural mental health, saying that farmers are at a higher risk of mental ill health and suicide, in part caused by rural isolation, a lack of awareness and stigma surrounding a typically heteronormative industry.

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