Will life be harder for me because I'm Gay Traveller?


Being Gay just like being a Traveller isn’t a problem, and shouldn’t be seen as such. It’s not an illness or a obstacle to be worked around. It simply describes your heritage, and that you just so happen to be attracted to the same gender as yourself.


It's the people around us who can make life tough as a Traveller, and a gay person, but you can be happy and successful. Life can be tough sometimes no matter what your sexual orientation, especially while growing up.


The hardest thing in life is to be yourself. The closer you come to accepting your sexuality and accepting yourself, the happier you’ll be. Some Travellers try desperately to hide their culture from others, thinking that pretending to be like everyone else is the route to happiness and acceptance, it's the exact same when you just so happen to also be Gay.


Some gay people go as far as getting married and having children in an attempt to conform. Putting all your energy into playing a part and living up to other people’s expectations is draining and makes for a very hard life, leaving you unfulfilled and unhappy.


Denial can lead to low self-esteem and a feeling of being trapped. Imagine a Traveller having to pretend not to be a Traveller, hiding culture, associations and customs as well as their loved ones. It’s an unthinkable pressure, but it’s equivalent to the way a lot of gay people live their lives.

Try not to isolate yourself and see obstacles that don't exist. I’ve met many gay Travellers who are very angry and permanently ready for an equal-rights fight - but they often find there’s nothing to fight about. Give people a chance to be okay about your sexuality and don't imagine problems before they exist.


What's coming out?


Coming out is when a gay person tells people that they are gay. It might be one close friend, a trusted relative or simply everyone. It’s a personal step that you may choose to take when you feel ready, or you might choose to just keep that part of your life private. See the coming out section for pro's and cons of coming out.


I don't want to be gay!


Sometimes the person with the biggest issue with you being gay, is you! There are some things in life that we don't have any control over. Your sexuality and heritage are two of them. You need to work at feeling better about who you are and making the best of what life has given you.


Why do you feel so bad about being gay? What is it about the idea of life as a gay person that's upsetting you? How is being gay worse than being straight? What can't you do as a gay person that you think you can do as straight? Sure, you can't have children biologically with a same-sex partner, but that doesn't mean you can't be a parent. Even same-sex marriage, or civil partnerships, are becoming more common, as gay rights fall in line with straight. Being a Traveller does not exclcude you from these basic rights.


Think about what you can do as a gay person:


  • You can find love, have sex and be happy within a healthy relationship if you want one.

  • You can be successful in your educational and working lives .

  • You can pursue personal interests, activities and hobbies.

  • You can have good, close friendships with people who are open minded and accept you for who you are.

  • You get the idea - you can do anything you want to do!


Try to stop seeing homosexuality as a curse and look at it rationally: it's just a part of your life and doesn't need to hover over your head like a dark cloud, affecting everything. In many areas of life sexuality simply isn't relevent.


If you woke up straight tomorrow, you'd still have a challenging life with the same ups and downs that everyone else faces. You'd be no more or less likely to find somebody decent to have a relationship with, and even though the majority of people within the Travelling community date people of the community, there are very few reasons beyond fear as to why you cant find love within the relationship, or outside it for that matter.


Heterosexuality does not automatically mean happiness, so stop using homosexuality as a reason for your unhappiness.


Read the material on this website. It'll answer some of the questions you have and dispell some of the negativity you may be harbouring about being Gay. Talk to a friend or get involved in the discussions on the upcoming forums.


There's no deadline for feeling better about things, so be kind to yourself and take it a step at a time. Start by working toward being able to admit, to yourself, that you are gay - even typing it into a mobile phone and deleting it, or in an email to yourself is a powerful moment of acceptance; embracing who you are and moving forward.


You can be happy as a gay Traveller but you have to alter your outlook on life and negative beliefs about what it means to be gay.


I feel depressed!


Being a Gay Traveller can make you feel isolated, especially when in your teenage years, because so few Travellers are open about their homosexuality for fear of rejection. Though thankfully, some are open about it, while some are hidden and others fight so hard to forget that they often find themselves in very sad situations.


Everyone has their own circumstances and stories. You may find that once you become a little more open about your own sexuality that other gay people become more visible too. Perhaps someone who was afraid to come out will be encouraged to do so by your coming out.

Taking that first step can often be a catalyst for change, even though it may be scary to start with. If you don’t want to tell anyone yet or feel that you can’t, you can use the internet to meet other gay people, as well as like minded Travellers.

There might be gay youth group in your local area. Have a look at the ones listed on my links page, or give a switchboard a call. LBGT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) switchboards aren’t just there for emotional support or crisis, they have a wealth of general information from gay-friendly hotels to gay plumbers. Ask them what social groups and events are available in your home town or nearby.

I especially recommend Outhouse in Dublin city.


If you are 18 or over, there are many dating websites where you can make friends or possibly meet a partner.


A list of sites/forums that may help:


www.outhouse.ie

www.belongto.org

www.gcn.ie

www.outeverywhere.com

www.gaire.com

www.gaycork.com


Be aware that some of these sites (though not the four three) have aspects contain strong sexual content and may have a sexual focus.


Don’t forget that you’ll meet lots of people as you move through life from within and outside of the community, so embrace new friendships and see what opportunities come your way. It’s good to be proactive, but don’t get hung up and desperate about meeting people. Friendships and relationships flourish best when they have space to develop naturally.