The Secret Life of Gay Farmers

Video by Matt Houghton


From: The Atlantic

In the United Kingdom, there is only one hotline for gay farmers. It’s run by Keith Ineson, a retired chaplain who was himself raised in a rural farming community. Growing up gay in a community that prized traditional masculinity, Ineson felt isolated. But he knew that other people bound by the same circumstances must be out there.

Landline, a short documentary from Matt Houghton, features the voices of gay farmers who have called into Ineson’s hotline. In the film’s recorded telephone conversations, gay British farmers share their candid and often shocking experiences. Houghton reconstructs haunting imagery to depict the emotional essence of their stories—half-obscured faces, a foggy landscape, a dark road at night. Many of the farmers describe a life plagued by isolation, secrecy, and shame.

“You want to scream out what the problem is, but you can’t,” one farmer says in the film. “I’ve got all these feelings of guilt from what I was doing, and feared that I would lose friends, family, my home—everything.”

“I grew up in a small rural village of West Wales,” a different farmer says. “There were rules about behavior that was tolerated. There was no such thing as a gay farmer.”
Despite having conducted thorough research on the topic, Houghton told me that he was surprised by what the farmers told him. “The film hangs totally on the honesty and openness of our contributors,” he said. “Without their generosity, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

“I’ve done a lot of interviewing in my career,” he continued, “but I was often very surprised at how quickly the people I spoke to were willing to talk about some of their most intimate experiences. That was definitely not what I expected. I think a big part of it is that, in some cases, they’d very rarely had the chance to speak freely.”


Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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