Queer farmers

Sexuality on the farm

Authored by: Michaela Hoffelmeyer

Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367190019
eBook ISBN: 9780429199752
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429199752-32

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Abstract

The application of queer studies in agriculture has remained limited due to gendered and sexualized assumptions of farm identities. Though often taken for granted, sexuality heavily influences agricultural production. This chapter critically reexamines farming utilizing a queer lens to understand how heteronormativity and heterosexism impact agricultural rhetoric and queer farmers’ participation in agriculture. The invisibility of queer farmers is inevitably tied to the heteronormativity of the “family farm.” Further, the naturalization of the family farm has unduly conflated heteronuclear families with environmental benefits, thus undermining social and ecological sustainability. In spite of dominant stereotypes portraying rural areas as inherently heterosexist and urban areas as accepting, queer farmers have rejected displacement from farming through cultivating support on individual and community scales. Despite agricultural organizations largely disregarding queer populations as current and future farmers, research engaging queer farmers adds new insights into farming models, sustainability, and community. Gender studies in agriculture have critically unveiled the hidden mechanisms which enforce gender inequalities; scholars and practitioners must now expose previous unquestioned norms of sexuality and gender binaries.

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