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Another little ‘first’ June 26, 2010

Posted by Tomboktu in Uncategorized.

Today, at the Dublin Pride parade, a gay Traveller group, LGBT Pavee, participated in the parade. It wasn’t mentioned at the party at the Civic Offices afterwards, but I think the development should not go un-noticed.


1. Paul McAndrew - June 26, 2010

good to see 🙂


2. Gavin Gleeson - June 26, 2010
3. WorldbyStorm - June 26, 2010

I’m amazed it wasn’t made more of… any reasons as to why not or just overlooked?


Tomboktu - June 26, 2010

I think overlooked for the big news from earlier in the week of Lydia Foy’s legal case.


4. Budapestkick - June 26, 2010

A courageous and admirable grouping.


5. dotski - June 26, 2010

Great to see, hopefully will help break down prejudices in both communities.


6. Pope Epopt - June 27, 2010

Wow. Fair play to them. It must take a good bit of guts.


7. Tomboktu - June 27, 2010

The Pavee LGBT and the LGBT Labour groups jointly won the Spirit of Pride Award this evening.


WorldbyStorm - June 28, 2010

Well deserved.


8. rob - June 28, 2010

WOW! That must of took some real courage. Fair play to them as I would say it may seem like a small act to us but its a groundbreaking move for their community. Never heard of the spirit of pride award but they earned it. This really is a step forward for us all


9. Tomboktu - December 3, 2010

President hails inspirational success stories at Traveller Pride Awards

Irish Times, Friday 3 December 2010

Travellers have faced “more than a few Everests of negativity” so their stories of success are exactly what we need to hear at this difficult time, President Mary McAleese said as she presented the Traveller Pride Awards in Dublin yesterday.

“They know the territory of obstacle courses very, very well. They faced into them with courage that never failed them,” she said.

Mrs McAleese said minorities within the Traveller community, such as people who were gay, had to cope with being doubly excluded.

“For many kids who grew up . . . as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, we know that very often the first words of exclusion that they will hear . . . will likely be in their own home,” she said.

“You can imagine the loneliness and the misery of that existence and the pressure it puts on.”

She said the impact on that group, in terms of mental ill-health and propensity to suicide was “way, way in excess of other groups in the community”.

One of the 10 Traveller Pride awards was won by the Gay Traveller Support Group, which took part in the Gay Pride marches in Dublin and Galway this year.

Accepting the award, Rosaleen McDonagh said gay Travellers were afraid for all sorts of reasons to make their orientation public. But she said Traveller culture was fluid and new generations were changing things.

“There are a hundred ways to be a Traveller and being gay is just one of them.”

Ms McDonagh also won the overall Traveller Pride award and the community award for her work in pursuing a more inclusive community for Travellers.

Former Republic of Ireland soccer manager Brian Kerr presented the sports award to boxing coach John Mongan and paid tribute to the contribution of Travellers to boxing.

Nan Joyce, described as a trailblazer for Travellers’ rights, won the lifetime achievement award for her campaigning work over the past 30 years.

The awards mark the beginning of Traveller Pride Week, which runs until next Friday.

Events include a Christmas Traveller craft fair in Roscrea, cultural awareness training in Longford and a nationwide event next Friday, where Traveller children launch balloons which carry a note of their hopes for 2011. See travellerprideweek.ie for more details.


I am a gay Traveller man but for many years I suppressed my feelings.

Even now, I feel I cannot reveal my identity here because it might result in some people not being tolerant or accepting of my Traveller and gay status.

I was born in England, but I was always an Irish Traveller and all my experiences were based on a traditional Traveller way of life.

But there was always an inner desire to be somebody else. It was obvious that I did not fit into the role I was born into.

I rang the Samaritans to find out what was wrong with me. When it arose that I might be gay I was shocked, mortified and disgusted with myself. Travellers can’t be gay – that only happens to settled people, I thought.

I started to identify with gay people I saw on the telly and on the street. Everything added up but I was still asking myself, how can this be happening to me, a lorry-driving Traveller man, the bread-winner working in construction?

I often heard derogatory terms used by my family towards “queers” describing them as perverts, child molesters and weirdos. I thought that I could not bring this shame on to my family. I would rather have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It would be much more acceptable to be dying than to be gay, let alone a gay Traveller.

In the mid 1980s my family spent some time in a camp in London opposite a gay pub. It took all my courage to go through that door one day but when I did, I met lovely people whom I admired and looked up to.

They were so confident about themselves. I realised that all the feelings I had about being a disgusting child molester were not true.

I started to sneak into the pub regularly but one day the men from the camp saw me going in and I was beaten up. That was the day I decided to leave my family and be true to my feelings.

Afterwards, I realised I had given up everything to be gay, to be alone in a bare flat without personal possessions; stripped of all my dignity and feeling the humiliation of my family.

Eventually I got my life back together when I got a job as a bus driver for children with disabilities. It struck me how similar the life of a disabled person is to the life of a Traveller. We both have to fight against prejudice and isolation.

President praises Travellers

Irish Independent Friday 3 December 2010

The President has praised members of the Traveller community for overcoming prejudice and creating a fairer Ireland, writes Kevin Keane.

Mary McAleese was awarding 10 Travellers for their contributions and achievements at the annual Traveller Pride awards at the Button Factory in Temple Bar, Dublin, yesterday.

Mrs McAleese said the toughness of Traveller life could have ground down many a person but the stories of those present were exactly what the country needed at this time.

The award winners were: Anne O’Donnell (Education); Katie O’Donoghue (Arts/Culture); Martin Collins (Music); The Laois Traveller Men’s Enterprise Centre (Enterprise); Denise McDonnell (Youth); John Mongan (Sport); Rosaleen McDonagh (Community and Overall Traveller Pride); The Gay Traveller Support Group (Innovative Project) and Nan Joyce (Life Achievement).


10. Tomboktu - December 4, 2010

Maman Poulet said that LGBT Pavee did not collect the award themselves:

When it came time for the Gay group to come and collect their prize nobody in the room felt that they could come forward because they didn’t feel comfortable.

A sad reminder of the courage that even setting up the group involved.


WorldbyStorm - December 4, 2010

That’s a real indictment of how far yet we’ve got to travel.


11. Digest – June 27 2010 – The Story - March 21, 2014

[…] Important ‘first’ pointed out by the Tombuktu on the CLR. […]


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