Simon Martyn Matthews couldn’t imagine a world where he could be openly gay
“I never felt that I could be gay and a farmer in Cornwall. It never once felt like that was all going to go together for me.”
To everyone around him, Simon Martyn Matthews looks like your typical Cornish farmer, and that’s because he is – he just happens to be gay.
The herdsman, who lives and works on the Lizard peninsula, spent most of his life hiding a huge part of himself but he’s got an extraordinary wit about him today where he’s able to see the funny side and only wishes he could have “been himself” sooner.
Now happily married to husband, Ian Martyn Matthews, who he has been with for 18 years, Simon recalls his angst-filled teenage years, from people thinking he was “mad about women” – when he was really dreaming about boys – to his parents knowing he was gay the entire time and later finding out some of his farmer friends were actually gay too.
But when it comes down to it, the 51-year-old says he’s been “lucky”, that he was always treated with acceptance by his family and although he often wonders what would have happened if he came out sooner, his experience has made him who he is.
The 1980s and 90s heralded a great deal of challenges for the gay community – both those living openly and privately. Life back then was very different from the life we have today and Simon Martyn Matthews remembers it well.
He says there were “no gay role-models” locally when he was growing up, nor had he ever even seen or met another gay man. It wasn’t until he was 30 that he finally hit breaking point and came out to his parents.
Original publication 27 February, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 15th March 2021
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