Frank Griffies

Sheep breeder and relief milker

I always knew I was gay.

Although I had a few “experiences” in my teens, it wasn’t until my late 30’s that I really allowed myself to connect with the feeling that I was gay.

I spent a long while feeling guilty and conflicted. I believed that so long as I didn’t do anything, then I wasn’t gay.

Trying to hide myself made me very unhappy even, at times, suicidal. My dad took his own life when he was 56. His death wrecked my childhood and it tore the family apart. This experience is what taught me that I had to be strong enough to work through my own situation.

Eventually I rang the “Gay Farmer helpline” and through this I met Keith Ineson. We talked and he advised that I should see my GP and get some help.

I must say my GP was fantastic. She got me on anti-depressants and booked me in for counselling.

It is now six years ago since I came out. Last year I appeared on the Countryfile feature about gay farmers and talked openly about my feelings. There were a couple of negative comments but mostly I received a lot of great feedback.

All my work colleagues know about my sexuality and it is accepted. There is one of them who has to keep telling me that he’s OK so frequently that it makes me wonder if he actually is. He also refers to other gay people as “one of your lot” which isn’t ideal. I try not to let it offend me.

So here I find myself, aged 65. I’m still single and looking for a partner. I have to admit that most of the time it can be very lonely but I have a good network of gay friends. There is Facebook group for gay farmers and this has been a good way to make new friends.

I have bred pedigree Texel sheep for 35 years and have many good friends in the sheep world. My hobby is breeding British Short Hair cats. I love helping to bring the new kittens along. It is fun to meet the people who buy these beautiful kittens. I am even thinking about starting to show them.

Matthew NaylorFrank Griffies