Bachelor Farmers and Spinsters: Gay and Lesbian Identities and Communities in Rural North Dakota
The academic literature on gay men and lesbians, while ever expanding, remains essentially incomplete concerning the special circumstances of homosexuals in rural or nonmetropolitan areas, despite the fact that a considerable number of sexual outsiders are born and raised in rural locations (and, of course, there are lesbians and gay men who choose to move to the country, or who visit it for recreational use (Bell and Valentine 1994)). Correspondingly, the available research on rural geography and sociology, community psychology and related fields has almost totally ignored the existence of gay and lesbian rural residents (Philo 1992; notable exceptions are D’Augelli and Hart 1987; D’Augelli et al. 1987; Moses and Buckner 1980). These omissions are especially grievous in that inquiries into the lives of nonmetropolitan lesbians and gay men can further knowledge in each of these disciplines. By studying rural lesbian and gay lives, rural sociologists and psychologists, for example, might better understand the challenges faced (and overcome) by other minorities or nonconformists in rural areas. Likewise, in gay and lesbian studies, empirical research into the strategies, behaviours and motivations of nonmetropolitan gays and lesbians can provide further insights into the wide diversity of the homosexual experience.