Rob Clunas

Manager – Royal Northern Countryside Initiative

I am currently the project manager of a small Scottish charity, the RNCI which educates children about farming and where food comes from

My role is helping young people to understand the countryside and the hard work that goes on around them. I think in the beginning farmers were a bit unsure of me, asking if I had a girlfriend or giving me plenty of space. Now I am fully accepted by all my volunteer farmers and although I often dial back “the fabulous” we all seem to have a good laugh. Nothing brings people together better than the blunt nature of children. Even with Northern Scotland being a very old fashioned place its amazing to see the growing acceptance for the LGBT+ community.

While interviewing for this job I made sure not to mention my sexual orientation using nondescript words like “they” or “my other half” rather than “he” or his name but as I was getting up to leave, I perhaps dropped my guard and my boyfriend. Feeling myself redden and get hot under the collar, I quickly scanned the faces of the panel; one of which looked a touch taken aback. I remember sitting in the car after thinking I’d blown it, making a big deal of it. My advice to others is be open and honest from the outset, let them get to meet the real you. For me it avoided any awkwardness further down the line.

My boyfriend himself is from farming stock and it turned out had gone to school with one of the interview panel; Scotland is a small place. Now three years together and I’ve yet to feed him to the pigs, we have a house together, a dog and if he gets his act together maybe one day some wedding bells.

Matthew NaylorRob Clunas