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. Kentucky is one of 38 states in which employees can legally be fired for being LGBT, and after Kevin sued his former employer alleging that it fired him for being gay, a court rejected Kevin’s wrongful termination lawsuit on those grounds. [Corrected.] posted on

Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed

Kevin McCaffery 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. He said in his lawsuit that he was sexually harassed by a superior, including being called “twinkle toes,” and said the center fired him in spite of his spotless record.

Kevin sued for wrongful termination but the court threw out his case on the grounds Kentucky law does not , bar anti-gay discrimination at the workplace.

The Ashland Child Development Center, Kevin’s former employer, contests his claims: The center told the court that Kevin was fired because of cost-cutting, but that the center also had legitimate cause to fire him based upon his job performance and unrelated to his sexuality and that his sexuality did not play a role in the decision. The Center further states that it was aware of Kevin’s sexuality before he was hired and that Kevin was open about his sexuality throughout his employment at the Center, with which the Center had no problem, stating that Kevin’s sexuality had absolutely no bearing on the decision to hire him or the decision to fire him.

More than a year after losing his job, 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.

UPDATE: Stacy, one of our awesome community contributors, created a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the farm’s food trough. As of February 24, 90 people have joined in to raise more than $5,800. You can visit the page here if you’d like to donate.

Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed

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.

The Center responded that the Judge never acknowledged that Kevin was treated unfairly. Instead, it contends that the Judge merely noted that “IF” Kevin was fired for being gay, although that may be wrong, it is not illegal. Regardless, as noted above, the Center maintains that his sexuality played no part in the decision to fire him. Furthermore, because the case was decided at the summary judgment stage, the Judge made no actual determination as to the reason behind Kevin’s termination but instead was required to solely rely upon Kevin’s own testimony and allegations regarding the reasoning behind his termination. The Center says that had the case progressed further, sufficient evidence would have been presented to show that Kevin’s termination was not in any way related to his sexuality.

One of Kevin’s concerned friends reached out to BuzzFeed for help. We visited Kevin’s sanctuary this week and met his adorable animals.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated some details of Kevin’s job loss. BuzzFeed also failed reach out to the Ashland Child Development Center before this article was published, a failure we regret.

Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed

One of Kevin McCaffery’s many cats hangs on his screen door, “she’s a wild one, she does that all the time,” said McCaffery.

Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed

Kevin McCaffery talks with one of his cats hanging on a screen door.

Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed

Artwork, done by Kevin himself, of his llamas.

Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed
Genevieve Adams for BuzzFeed

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Facebook Conversations
          
    Hot Buzz

    11 Horror Stories That Will Make You Never Want To Work In Retail

    wtf

    You Can Now Take Classes At Hogwarts

    omg
    Now Buzzing