Baa-lind Date: Meet the gay farmer looking for love on BBC’s rural dating show

Dating isn’t easy at the best of times, but when you live miles away from cafes, bars or even neighbours, it can be even trickier.

That’s why BBC Two’s new programme Love in the Countryside, presented by farmer’s daughter Sara Cox, aims to help eight rural singletons from across the UK find companionship, setting them up on a series of blind dates.

Richard, a gay 39-year-old sheep and cattle farmer from Dumfries & Galloway in southern Scotland, spoke to PinkNews about why he went on the show – and what dating in rural scene is like.

“Meeting somebody is very hard – there’s not a lot of single people in the area,” he says. “Being gay is even harder because there are less gay people to meet too.”

Far from a short hop on a train or bus, Richard is a two-and-a-half hour journey from the nearest gay scene – which makes meeting for an impromptu coffee more difficult.

Richard lives miles away from his nearest gay scene (BBC)

“The distance to meet someone is completely different from a city. If you meet someone online you might be 100 miles away, but if you’re in a city, you are 10 minutes away.”

Although Richard went on the show to meet someone, he also hopes to make new friends.

“I think it’s also to show people that being a gay farmer is no different to being a straight farmer, we are still the same,” Richard adds.

In April, a powerful segment on BBC’s Countryfile explored the high rates of mental illness and suicide among gay farmers in Britain, as a result of stigma that is still rife in rural communities.

Statistics cited on the programme show around 50 farmers a year end their lives. Reasons range from low market prices to stress and poor harvests, but homosexuality also appears to be a significant factor.

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