The National LGBT+ Traveller & Roma Action Group has proudly to produced its first ever LGBT+ Traveller & Roma Calendar and has begun distributing to national and regional Traveller and Roma organisations, as well as national and regional LGBT+ organisations this week. Traveller and Roma families and individuals who want to celebrate their LGBT+ identity or express their allyship with LGBT+ members of their communities will also receive copies through their relevant services.
“[It’s about} valuing people differently within our community, rather than coming down on anyone for their sexuality and gender. Accepting people for who they are, is the only way to be, as there is really no right way to be a Traveller. Live and let live!” Senator Eileen Flynn
Eileen Flynn, the first female Traveller to become a Senator speaks as a proud member of the Action Group. The National Action Group for LGBT+ Traveller & Roma Rights is a collective that aims to increase the promotion, protection, inclusion and celebration of LGBT+ Traveller & Roma individuals and their families within their communities and organisations and services. Membership of the Group consists of representatives from the LGBT+ Traveller & Roma communities, their national, regional and local organisations as well as LGBT+ organisations and services.
There are potentially 4,000 Travellers on the island of Ireland who are LGBT+ (All Ireland Traveller Health Study 2010; Equality Authority 2002). Higher levels of poor mental health are common both in the Traveller community and the LGBT+ community. Consequently, LGBT+ Travellers and Roma battle layers of discrimination as they strive to find self-acceptance, community acceptance and societal celebration of all of who they are.
“Being gay in the Travelling community is OK and needs more support. If not addressed then this is where the suicide thoughts and depression comes into effect, and when we see young lives dying” says Dillon Collins, an LGBT Traveller.
The Action Group hopes this first calendar will act as a symbol of positive visibility and allyship wherever it is displayed. It also aims to educate as each month marks key historical and important dates for both the Traveller and Roma communities, as well as the LGBTI+ community. Equally important is every month’s display of phone numbers of important mental health support services. The Action Group hopes that more LGBT+ individuals and any concerned family members will reach out to seek the help they need when they need it so that more LGBT+ Travellers and Roma find the peace which Pauline Reilly, LGBT Traveller, describes in the month of February:
“The heart is not bound by conditions of gender, love is an emotion that neither discriminates nor hesitates when it is felt by two people deeply in love”
For a digital copy click here: 2021 LGBT Traveller & Roma Calendar FINAL
Any other queries please email: BecomeaAlly@gmail.com