It was hugely encouraging to read, on The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, of the positive impact that the Gay Farmer Helpline offers to an under-represented and often isolated group.
I deal regularly with divorce cases with a farming connection - be it acting for a land owning husband, for a spouse who seeks their 'fair share' or for an adult child who is set to inherit. No two cases are the same, but the common threads woven through farming divorces relate to inherited and gifted assets, issues of liquidity amongst the asset rich/income poor and succession planning.
The efforts involved in trying to keep a farm within the family or alternatively, produce an heir (and keep them interested in farming), whilst maintaining income and profitability can be even more difficult to address when considered through an LGBTQ+ prism in what are often inherently (small 'c') conservative communities.
The shocking fact is that in this country, a farmer takes their own life every week. The Gay Farmer Helpline can provide a vital source of support for anyone who is struggling and needs someone to talk to.
The helpline offers advice and provides assistance to those who may be trying to come to terms with their sexuality. It does so from a perspective of understanding the realities of modern farming, and the particular challenges provided by rural life. Few farmers find life easy, particularly during times of relationship breakdown, but LGBTQ+ farmers can find things even tougher. It is heartening to know that this bespoke service is there for them to for support.
"You need to keep the farm in the family and you need to keep it viable. These men don't want to hurt the women, but they just feel they shouldn't have gotten married."