Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest

Overview

Homosexuality is often seen as a purely urban experience, far removed from rural and small-town life. Farm Boys undermines that cliche by telling the stories of more than three dozen gay men, ranging in age from 24 to 84, who grew up in farm families in the midwestern United States. Whether painful, funny, or matter-of-fact, these plain-spoken accounts will move and educate any reader, gay or not, from farm or city.

     "When I was fifteen, the milkman who came to get our milk was ...

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Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest

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Overview

Homosexuality is often seen as a purely urban experience, far removed from rural and small-town life. Farm Boys undermines that cliche by telling the stories of more than three dozen gay men, ranging in age from 24 to 84, who grew up in farm families in the midwestern United States. Whether painful, funny, or matter-of-fact, these plain-spoken accounts will move and educate any reader, gay or not, from farm or city.

     "When I was fifteen, the milkman who came to get our milk was beautiful. This is when I was really getting horny to do something with another guy. I waited every day for him to come. I couldn’t even talk to him, couldn’t think of anything to say. I just stood there, watching him, wondering if he knew why.”—Henry Bauer, Minnesota

     "When I go back home, I feel a real connection with the land—a tremendous feeling, spiritual in a way. It makes me want to go out into a field and take my shoes off and put my feet right on the dirt, establish a real physical connection with that place. I get homesick a lot, but I don’t know if I could ever go back there and live. It’s not the kind of place that would welcome me if I lived openly, the way that I would like to live. I would be shunned.”—Martin Scherz, Nebraska

     "If there is a checklist to see if your kid is queer, I must have hit every one of them—all sorts of big warning signs. I was always interested in a lot of the traditional queen things—clothes, cooking, academics, music, theater. A farm boy listening to show tunes? My parents must have seen it coming.”—Joe Shulka, Wisconsin

     "My favorite show when I was growing up was 'The Waltons’. The show’s values comforted me, and I identified with John-Boy, the sensitive son who wanted to be a writer. He belonged there on the mountain with his family, yet he sensed that he was different and that he was often misunderstood. Sometimes I still feel like a misfit, even with gay people.”—Connie Sanders, Illinois

     "Agriculture is my life. I like working with farm people, although they don’t really understand me. When I retire I want the word to get out [that I’m gay] to the people I’ve worked with—the dairy producers, the veterinarians, the feed salesmen, the guys at the co-ops. They’re going to be shocked, but their eyes are going to be opened.”—James Heckman, Indiana

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A collection of three dozen interviews conducted with gay men ranging in age from 24 to 84 who grew up in the rural Midwest, uncovering a much neglected aspect of the gay experience. The stories are at times touching and also deeply disturbing as they reminisce about the rigid gender roles common to farming communities, social isolation, racism, religious conservatism, and little information to help them make sense of their identities. The other side of the coin is the deep and loving feelings these men have for the land, their families, communities, and churches. Told sometimes from urban exile, and sometimes from the middle of the field, all the interviews have a brave openness in common. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299150846
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 639,408
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Will Fellows is a writer and educator who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. He lives in Milwaukee.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2006

    A must read for all homosexuals.

    This is a fantastic book. It shows the problems of growing up gay on farms. It reveals the ignorance of farm parents and the adjustments growing up and not knowing what to do about being gay. I read it and realized how my parents created all sorts of problems for me by their silence. And I grew up in a town in Connecticut!!!!! This is a very important work. I'm sending a copy of this book to my hypnotherapist. Armand Auger, M.D.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2005

    VERY STRANGE AND DISTURBING BOOK

    I couldnt believe some of the stories in this book.Most of the men who are interviewed throughout the book need serious help.This book was very disturbing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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