“There are as many homos in agriculture as elsewhere”, Mathieu assured, before the Pride of the countryside

Rainbow flags, a procession of tractors and wagons loaded with a brass band … Saturday afternoon, Chenevelles (Vienne), a town of 454 souls, will see the very first Pride March parade it in its streets. Organizers call it Rural Pride and also mention Country Pride. The day, mostly a festival, is marked by the signing of an inclusion charter with the Association of Rural Mayors of France. This is an opportunity to give visibility to LGBT people living far from cities and their particular experiences. Mathieu and her husband Alexandre, symbolic couple during the 15th Love is in the pasture, accepted “with great joy” to be sponsors of this event organized by Stop Homophobia. Mathieu added 20 minutes.

Why is it important for you to be a sponsor of Rural Pride?

When I came to the world of agriculture, it was very difficult for me. I have to show twice as many others as I can. I always hear colleagues say: “He’s gay …” And when I corrected them, they said to me: “Oh, but you, it’s not the same Mathieu”, as if that was slowing down or that it is less serious or acceptable. Complicated, in the countryside, very machismo. That’s why I agreed to sponsor this event to awaken this world of agriculture that is so closed to our lives as homosexuals. The patriarch remained. Homosexuality is in other people, it doesn’t happen to them.

Will this Pride campaign change things?

We need to move the lines. There are many homos in agriculture, as elsewhere. Agriculture is a vocation. Not because you are a heterosexual farmer, because you are selected by agriculture. I’m a bit special because I’m a neo-breeder, but more often than not, people choose this job out of passion.

Can LGBT farmers, who often can’t easily apply for leave, work? Do you expect a large crowd?

We don’t know, because this is the first edition. The mayor of the village is also gay and the prefect, I don’t know if he is gay, but he is really in favor of the movement. There has been a tremendous commitment from public authorities. We created an Instagram reel with Alexandre where we presented the day and saw it over a million times, while our videos typically had between 50,000 and 300,000 views. There is enthusiasm. Many people wrote to me, including many righteous people who lived in the area, to tell me “Let’s go”. So it can be pride not just homosexual. That is also the purpose. I think we have a lot of locals. I know there is a Facebook group of young gay farmers, most of them moving. Expect 500 to 1,000 people to attend.

Since you joined “Love is in the meadow” two years ago, do you have the impression that things are changing for rural gays?

There is a step forward. Many farmers contacted me because they were a bit lost. I had a long phone call with Alain, a gay farmer who is next season on Love is in the pasture [lancée sur M6 le mois prochain]. At first, he didn’t dare do the show. I told him: “People in your village know you’re gay, so you have to start, that you give visibility, that being gay and being a farmer is more common. “We shouldn’t have said to ourselves, if we were to watch a program like that Love is in the pasture, “Hey, he’s gay. Hey, he’s gay. This situation is normal: we are part of society. True, on the side, there is a growth in homophobia, but so every time we move forward in social progress, in acceptance, the gap between extremists widens. We continue to accept death threats.

Really?

Sure! We had a very strong one at the beginning of the year, when we ended our stay in the West Indies. Interventions were performed in schools. An Instagram account with 120,000 followers threatened us with a story that said: “If you go to my son’s class, I’ll kill you. We’re filing a complaint, of course. Now, speaking out without restraint, people are no longer afraid of threats.So we will not let it.We will adopt a new strategy of SOS homophobia.In the past, we put threats online to show that they exist.Now, if we see a threatening message, we screen [faire une capture d’écran] and we will take legal action. You have to show others that if you cross the line, you will be punished.

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