SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Farmers during Pride Month

SPOTLIGHT: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Farmers during Pride Month

JUNE 2023

Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.

Barbara Gittings
LGBTQ+ Activist


Happy Pride Month! Each June, we celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and others in the LGBTQ+ community!

Many LGBTQ+ farmers call the Upper Midwest home. The latest census reported that over 2,000 LGBTQ+ farmers live and work in the region; however, this is likely a big underestimate since the census only recognizes married partnerships and collects limited data about gender identity.

To celebrate the LGBTQ+ farmers this Pride Month, listen and read about the experiences of some LGBTQ+ farmers in our region:

Quick Health and Safety Resources for LGBTQ+ People

This month, we recognize the invaluable contributions that LGBTQ+ farmers have made to agriculture, especially in creating more inclusive communities and food systems worldwide. One group, the Queer Farmer’s Network, is working to build community among Queer farmers throughout the United States.

“While this network is here to build community and celebrate all things queer farmer related, we are also here to address and rethink the many things that dearly need shifting in our current food & ag systems.”Queer Farmers Network

Supporting healthy and safe people in ALL agricultural communities…

Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ people continue to face discrimination and isolation in their workplaces and communities.

This has led to more depression, suicide attempts, and other health and safety concerns for some LGBTQ+ people. At UMASH, we envision a future where people in all agricultural communities are healthy and safe.

We recognize that those reading this come with a wide variety of knowledge and experiences about what it means to support and affirm LGBTQ+ people. We welcome these differences and encourage ongoing learning and conversation within communities. If you are someone who is new to learning about the LGBTQ+ community, we would encourage you to read Being an LGBTQ+ Ally from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This article is a great starting point to learn about the basics of being someone who supports LGBTQ+ people.

“Every person has their own journey in understanding what it means to support LGBTQ+ people, whether you’re LGBTQ+ or not. We hope this resource can help you begin that journey.”Human Rights Campaign

In addition to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month, consider these action steps to celebrate, affirm, and support LGBTQ+ people in your communities.

Show your support
Feeling accepted is an important part of health and safety. To show that your home, workplace, or community supports LGBTQ+ people, consider displaying a sign or symbol (like a flag or poster) that represents your support. Although visualizing your support with a sign or symbol is important, the following tips are even more important because they put your support into action.
Ask about and use correct pronouns
Pronouns are how we refer to each other without names (like she/her, he/him, they/them). Asking someone what pronouns they use and using them can go a long way to show your respect and kindness. Asking is especially important because you cannot tell what pronouns someone uses by how they look. Plus, the way we communicate is constantly changing! To make the conversation feel more natural, consider offering your pronouns during introductions (For example: “My name is Joey, and I use she/her pronouns”) or adding them to your email signature, Zoom name, or name tag. Learn more about pronouns and how to ask others about their pronouns at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
Offer all-gender restrooms
All-gender restrooms are bathrooms that a person of any gender can use. Transgender, nonbinary, and other gender-diverse people may feel more comfortable using an all-gender restroom. Offering an all-gender bathroom is a step towards ensuring everyone feels comfortable, safe, and welcomed. Many farms already have single-occupancy bathrooms, which work well as all-gender restrooms.
Speak up
Over half of LGBTQ+ workers hear jokes related to their identity at work. Speak up when you hear these hurtful or stigmatizing comments, even if they are meant to be jokes. This can help create a workplace that is kind and respectful.

It is important to health and safety to support LGBTQ+ farmers every month of the year, not just during Pride. We hope you’ll join us in cultivating communities and workplaces that honor and celebrate each and every farmer.