School wasn’t the easiest time for me. A lot of the time was spent hiding in the toilets and just waiting for the end of day bell to go so I could retreat back home to the farm. Whoever said school days are your best days clearly must have been on something very strong!
After school, I moved onto Riseholme Agricultural College which turned out to be great for me – finally studying something I was interested in and actually making some decent friends. I feel at this point I definitely knew I was gay. I suppose I should have known from the age of 13 really, with my bedroom plastered with posters of David Beckham – still to this day… his eyes!
Then I moved on to Harpers Adams University; I have so many great memories of my time here, which I will hold onto for life, along with some great friends. At this point I yearned for the feeling of acceptance and wanting to fit in, and so I kept my sexuality to myself, but it was becoming harder and harder to keep it in the back of my mind. I remember thinking it’s only a matter of time.
After completing Harper I then had a stint milking cows in New Zealand. Again, a great experience mixing with different people from all over the world. Once arriving back in England, I managed to get myself an assistant managers job on a large arable estate in Lincolnshire. Now I was settled with a decent job and a house I thought it was time to be true to myself, this then saw me talking to a rather dishy young fella (apologies, no one says dishy anymore) and I remember thinking I need to come out now or I’m never going to bag this one!
So coming out and dropping the GAY bomb wasn’t really planned as such or a great success really. It was a very short conversation with my parents, resulting in little or no contact for several years. Thankfully at this challenging time I had the support of my then partner and his family who were great and I can never thank them enough – they have definitely moulded me into the person I am today.
Coming out does feel like a weight has been lifted. It felt like I had achieved something, similar to the feeling you get when you’ve just finished combining before its about to rain. I think it’s just relief!
Thankfully today I am pleased to say I have a lot better relationship with my family. The parents haven’t quite got to the stage of flying a rainbow flag at the end of the drive yet, but they are slowly getting their heads around the idea.
Work wise as a farm assurance assessor I meet a number of different farmers of all ages from a large area of the country and I haven’t had any negative comments to date. I had a couple of comments about how skinny fit my chinos are, but hey – that’s a small price to pay to look on point! But on a serious note, I am very open if any farmer asks me about my personal life, and I do feel it is becoming much more accepted in recent times, which definitely shows we are heading in the right direction.
It is very important to be true to yourself. I know it is a lot easier said than done, but finding that confidence has definitely changed my life for the better. My thirteen year old self hiding in the school toilets at lunch time would not believe where I am today. You would be surprised how much support there is out there.