NSW cattle farmer Jon Wright never expected a message on gay dating app Grindr would lead to him being profiled in a documentary.
But that’s exactly what happened with Alone Out Here, one of three documentaries showcasing rural gay and lesbian stories on 10 Play.
Wright lives in Cowra, in central western New South Wales. He is a fourth generation farmer, and like most he is doing it tough on the land. But for a single gay man in the bush there are inherent differences, including acceptance and support networks.
But Jon is also doing his bit to reduce carbon emissions, which is a huge climate issue for the meat industry.
Director Luke Cornish and his team from Biscuit Tin Productions spent time on the farm to craft a story for the half hour doco.
“Their approach was amazing in taking heaps of footage, spending lots of time with me, and then working out what the story was after that.
“There were no preconceived ideas. There was a real empathy in their attitudes.”
“There were no preconceived ideas. There was a real empathy in their attitudes.
“It’s just so beautiful to look at. For my story to be associated with that quality of production is just such a godsend.
“It’s not every day you get a documentary made about you.”
Yet Wright says his coming out story was actually well-received, when he confided in family and friends at the age of 28.
“I was lucky in the sense that my parents were fourth generation in the community. My mother was a GP in the local town and being involved with so many organisations, I was lucky. If people were going to have a problem with me, they had to throw all that other stuff out the window, as well,” he recalls.
“Drunken nights out with with all my straight friends nearly turned into Q&A questions, for them to get up to speed on what it’s like to be gay.
“But in terms of meeting somebody else that’s always going to be difficult in the bush.
“The first the first thing I did when I came home was put an ad in the local newspaper”
“The first the first thing I did when I came home was put an ad in the local newspaper. There was Men seeking Women, Women seeking Men and then Seeking Same. You had to phone in and get your messages.
“It was hilariously revolting!”
He tried to make things work a fashion editor from Sydney, who relocated to Cowra to try and make things work.
“It was a huge challenge for him to try and move to the country and a beautiful thing that he tried to do. But just trying to find work in the country was really challenging. And so that made it pretty hard for him to stay. It put a lot of pressure on the relationship.”
Alone Out Here is one of three Out Here doco shorts funded by 10 and Screen Australia, joining Belonging which follows 18-year-old LGBTQI+ activist Sam Watson in the footsteps of gay rights activist Rodney Croome; and The Rainbow Passage, which profiles three transgender women living in regional NSW.
“I argued with my father, saying ‘I can’t marry myself to my job like you Dad”
Jon Wright is currently single, still doing it tough on the land, but uplifted by the reactions that his documentary has been receiving, and that goes a long way when you’re so tied to your work.
“It’s funny. I argued with my father, saying ‘I can’t marry myself to my job like you Dad,’ and here I am all the way down the track married to my job,” he admits.
“But I love it. I’m very lucky. I’ve got a beautiful farm and a beautiful place, and great people around me.”
Alone Out Here is now screening as part of Out Here on 10 Play.