Are Lesbian Farmers Taking Over Rural America?


A few days ago, I came across a headline that read: “Rush Limbaugh warns that federally paid ‘lesbian farmers’ could invade your town.” Of course, I immediately clicked on it to find out what this was all about.

The article talked about an episode of the “Rush Limbaugh Show,” which aired on the Premiere Radio Network back in August, and in which Limbaugh exposed a theory that claimed the Democratic Party was paying lesbians to invade farms as a part of an strategic plan that intends to eventually win the vote of rural America.

“They are trying to bust up one of the last geographically conservative regions in the country; that’s rural America. Rural America happens to be largely conservative. Rural America is made up of self-reliant, rugged individualist types. They happen to be big believers of the Second Amendment,” the radio host explained.

He continued, “So here comes the Obama Regime with a bunch of federal money and they’re waving it around, and all you gotta do to get it is be a lesbian and want to be a farmer and they’ll set you up. I’m like you; I never before in my life knew that lesbians wanted to be farmers. I never knew that lesbians wanted to get behind the horse and the plow and start burrowing. I never knew it.”

Apparently, someone failed to let Mr. Limbaugh know that lesbian farmers have been working the fields for years.

Back in 2015, Modern Farmer published an interview with LGBT members: Gael, a 79-year-old lesbian farmer from Ohio, Alex Paul, a gay animal science student who hopes to one day farm in his hometown, Matt Russell and Patrick Standley, a married couple who farm the 110-acre Coyote Run Farm in Iowa, Carmen Goodyear, a lesbian farmer who has been publishing her agricultural experiences for a decade in Country Women magazine, and Jonah Mossberg, a transgender farmer who wrote and directed “Out Here,” a documentary about queer farmers released in 2013.

“When I first started doing research, there really wasn’t much,” Mossberg confessed during his interview. “I’d put ‘queer farmer’ in Google, and all that would come up is porn.”

Queer farmers were first featured in the film “The Fox” back in 1967. The movie, loosely based on the 1923 novella of the same title by D.H. Lawrence, tells the story of Jill Banford (Sandy Dennis) and Ellen March (Anne Heywood), two young women running a chicken farm in Canada who discover they are in love with each other when Paul Renfield (Keir Dullea), a merchant seaman looking for his grandfather – the now-deceased former owner of the land – comes into their lives to shaken up the world as they know it.

Update: If you Google “queer farmer” in 2017, the first thing that comes up is “Out Here| A full-length documentary film about the hearts and hard work of queer farmers in the U.S.”

Getty Images

Getty Images

Last September, the Huffington Post’s Queer Voices also took on the task to spread the word about queer farmers and reached out to a number of them, who all agreed to share their stories.

“The population of rural America is way more open-minded than [Limbaugh] seems to think,” Courtney Skeeba told Queer Voices. “Farming or just living in rural setting is a community-based lifestyle and I think anyone that is open to that community is welcomed. It transcends any sort of orientation.”

The women at Rise and Root Farm are the perfect example of an open-minded and inclusive rural community.

“We’re an intergenerational farm. We’re gay and we’re straight, we’re black and we’re white, so we have all these difficult conversations about social structures and who has access to what and how,” Michaela Hayes told the Huff Post. “This is an opportunity to move the United States agricultural movement in a more representational, beneficial direction.”

What Limbaugh falsely described as “trying to convince lesbians to become farmers” is in fact an “opportunity” as Hayes describes it above, made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights to promote rural pride.

The Daily Dot’s Mary Emily O’Hara tackled the situation with a little bit of humor, “The Daily Dot was not able to find the sign-up sheet for lesbian farm money, but we plant to keep looking – and as soon as Obama gives the orders, we plan to retire to the blue hills of Kentucky with our lesbian hay-bailing militia in tow.”

Remedy Farm in upstate New York, via Facebook

Remedy Farm in upstate New York, via Facebook

But the most hilarious part about all this nonsense, in my opinion, is that last month, Limbaugh blamed liberals for spreading fake news and called it a “fundamental problem.”

“The fake news is the everyday news,” he said on his radio show recently. “They just make it up.”

Mr. Limbaugh didn’t stop there.

In the same episode, the controversial commentator decided to accuse the LGBT community of constantly wanting something from the government.

“They want to keep rabble-rousing and agitating so they’ve adopted the bisexual and transgender group,” he declared. “They’ve imported them into the gay and lesbian group. They get to rabble-rouse and agitate all over again; get to act like they’re still discriminated against; get to act like no accomplishments have happened; get to act like none of their demands have been met and so now it’s the LGBT group, particularly transgenders, being allowed to not only choose the bathrooms they use, but now to choose the homeless shelters they want to use.”

He added, “How many homeless transgenders would you say there are in America? I mean, whatever the number is, it’s not even one half of 1%. And look at the massive upheaval in policy and federal dictate and everything else to accommodate them. It’s even worse than that, because the transgenders are now being accorded the label of normalcy, and anybody who isn’t on board, you’re the problem, you’re the danger, you’re the person whose mind is out of whack and who we’ve gotta get made right. It’s what I mean, every day we wake up, every day, and we find another assault. Today’s there’s two. Lesbian farmers and transgenders being allowed to use whatever homeless shelter they want.”

Not many news outlets elaborated on Limbaugh’s remarks about the transgender community and how he basically implied they shouldn’t have any rights because they constitute less than 1% of the population, or how he described our community’s fight for equal rights as an assault. But sure Mr. Limbaugh, you keep telling yourself that you are not part of the problem, we are.



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