Meet Kevin, the gay llama farmer from Kentucky
Meet Kevin, The Gay Llama Farmer From Kentucky
His animal sanctuary — home to 51 llamas and more than 300 animals total — is in jeopardy because just over a year ago, Kevin was fired for being gay. Kentucky is one of 38 states in which employees can legally be fired for being LGBT.
Kevin worked as a public school teacher for fifteen years before retiring to run his farm full-time. A few years ago, he went back to work as the director of a day care center in Ashland, Kentucky. After being mocked and teased by co-workers and superiors at work, some of whom constantly referred to him as "twinkle toes", the center forced him to resign in spite of his spotless record.
He sued for wrongful termination and, though the judge agreed that he had been treated unfairly, there is no Kentucky state law regarding anti-gay discrimination at the workplace.
More than a year later, Kevin is still out of work, exhausted, and behind on bills and legal fees. He continues to work on the animal sanctuary he runs on his 18-acre property. LLA-Nanny Farms is home to llamas, cats, dogs, chickens, donkeys and pigs. Many of the animals, especially the 30+ dogs, came to Kevin as strays.
When Kevin spoke to BuzzFeed, he said his main concern was that, due to his financial problems, he wouldn't be able to feed all of his animals. He has never sold any of them, not even his prize-winning llamas. Now, though, he worries that he may be running out of options.
When asked by a friend how he was doing, Kevin responded with this statement on Facebook:
"... things have hit an all time low. The judge threw my case out of the court, stated that he knew that I had been done wrong by my employer but in the great state of Ky. anyone can call you queer and twinkle toes and fire you and that there are no laws to protect you. My unemployment has run out and now I am on food stamps just to have something to eat. I had to change my feed for my animals to a cheaper kind just so that I can provide for them. I am at the mercy of everyone to help feed them anymore. I had to go apply for assistance to try to pay my electric bill today. I have been applying for jobs everywhere. I did get a response from a new preschool/daycare in Lexington. I hope and pray that it works out. I don't know how I will travel to Lexington everyday and keep up with the farm work, but I'll cross that bridge if it happens. Sorry to sound so negitive but right now it's hard to keep my head up anymore. Debbie I appreciate all that you have done to try to help, it means a lot. Love you, Kevin."
One of Kevin's concerned friends reached out to BuzzFeed for help. We visited Kevin's sanctuary this week and met his adorable animals.