Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Gay and Lesbian Farmers

I've written an article about gay farmers for Guardian CIF. If you are a gay or lesbian farmer, you might be interested in this:
Christians are not generally known for breaking new ground when it comes to gay rights; they're usually struggling to catch up. Take a look back at this year for example: Christian B&B owners discriminating against a gay couple, Pentecostal foster parents insisting on being allowed to teach that homosexuality is morally wrong and continuing Christian resistance to gay marriage. Who would have thought that a helpline set up to support gay farmers was run by a Christian chaplain? But that's exactly what's happened.

Keith Ineson is an ex-farmer who now works as a chaplain for Churches Together in Cheshire. He extended the remit of his chaplaincy after handling more than one case of a farmer suffering from suicidal thoughts because he felt unable to come out as gay. Within six months of launching the dedicated helpline at the end of 2009, Ineson had received 52 calls – mostly from gay farmers over 50, some of whom were single, and all of whom felt imprisoned, thinking that they were the only gay farmer around. The concern is that if Ineson stopped work tomorrow, the helpline would stop with him: there is a need for Christians with rural knowledge and an understanding of gay issues to get involved in the work Keith is doing.
For the full article, see here.

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