A partnership of Traveller organisations and mainstream LGBTQI support services joined together today to launch resources for LGBTQI Travellers and Roma. Posters and videos were launched that can be used to celebrate Traveller and Roma LGBTQI identity.
“If we as Traveller organisations are serious about working to achieve equality and the protection of the human rights of Travellers –then we have to be inclusive of the human rights of all Travellers- including the rights of our LGBTQI brothers and sisters and sons,” said John Paul Collins of Pavee Point at the launch.
“We are confident that these resources, along with existing resources we have already developed, will ensure the engagement of Travellers, Roma and members of minority ethnic communities in mainstream LGBTQI support services.
“Travellers are often uncomfortable, ashamed and embarrassed about discussing the issues of sexuality in general. There is then an added, and genuine fear, of coming out to friends and family members due to the stigma and shame they feel it will bring upon their wider extended family.
“This has detrimental effects for LGBTQI Travellers in relation to having higher levels of anxiety, depression and bullying which in turn has implications on their mental health.
“Some LGBTQI Travellers feel they cannot come out within the Traveller community –either for their personal safety or because of what they perceive as the shame they will being onto their family. They can feel forced into choosing between their LGBTQI community or their Traveller community. This is a choice no Traveller should be forced to make. “
Pavee Point has a long history of fighting for the rights of LGBTQI Travellers and Roma. This work has also involved reaching out to LGBTQI organisations and networks and working with them to address the specific needs of LGBTQI Travellers. This work has involved awareness raising; training; development of resources; and being in solidarity with LGBTQI organisations in their campaigns for equality. More info on our work here.