Ben Andrews: Life, Love and the Countryside
The work for LGBTQ+ plus awareness has really taken off in recent years. However, it’s often the case that the cityscapes are where LGBTQ+ members feel the safest and most accepted. After all, urban life certainly makes it easier to connect to one another, bring people together, and organise things like protests, clubs and support groups. Awareness is certainly ramping up, but unfortunately, that success doesn’t always translate quite so poignantly to the countryside. This is where 36-year-old Ben Andrews comes in.
Most people know Andrews for his work in the countryside, specifically in developing a fully-fledged LGBTQ+ farmers network. Andrews founded this organisation with his pals in the summer of 2018 and called it Agrespect, with the aim to further push the values of inclusion and diversity into broader society. The organisation today continues that mission, raising awareness and acceptance in agricultural lands with goals that encourage members of the LGBTQ+ community to live big, bountiful lives in rural areas.
It’s because of the work of Andrews and his friends that he’s being recognised by Belstaff in a brand-new interview for the world to read. He begins the exchange by discussing in detail the finding of his grandfathers old Belstaff jacket, and that he “gave it a good wash off and a rewaxing, and it’s as good as new”, which goes a long way in proving just how durable Belstaff’s clothing lines are. Obviously, for Andrews who grew up in Herefordshire and works there to this day, a long-lasting jacket full of history and legacy would be a highly-prized item. Today, similar jackets are still readily available from Belstaff, lasting through generations.
Andrews then went on to talk openly about his ideal life as a gay man, wishing to live in Scotland with nobody but himself, his husband and his dogs. With a flare for adventure and the farmers life, there is a clear drive here that comes from a very pure place. Clearly, Andrews is a man with admirable core values, wishing nothing but peace, happiness and tranquillity for those around him. The interview with Belstaff concludes with that message communicated loud and clear.
In the past however, Andrews has cited the motion picture God’s Own Country as offering up “the most accurate depiction of being gay, being a farmer, and being a gay farmer”, which has no doubt served as an poignant inspiration for him. It’s often the case that art represents the ‘underdogs’ of sorts and gives a voice to the voiceless. Now, Andrew is inspired by those voices, which were partly based on real events and experiences of the writer, Francis Lee, and has now begun to make waves in our real present day, too.
Of course, films are one thing, and reality, another. It wasn’t until his parents found a copy of attitude magazine under his mattress that they sat him down and had a talk… only, it was the wrong talk. Andrews has once recalled how his dad said: “You’ll never be happy, it’s not a good life, you’ll always be alone.” It’s a testament to Andrew’s character that he’s willing to roll his sleeves up and prove the person who should have been his loudest supporter, wrong. That will and determination is to be commended.