Myths and truth



Myth:

'Gay Travellers are all effeminate, promiscuous and bitchy. Lesbian Travellers are all butch, dress-dodging man-haters.'

Truth:

Just like the Travelling community itself and the broader community, the Gay people within it are as varied in appearance and behaviour as anyone else. Their beliefs and values have as broad a range as you can imagine. Stereotypes do originally lead back to some sort of fact, but they tends to be based around the most visible and loudest element of a group, or the ones that grab media attention. It’s human nature to want to label things so that we can make sense of the outside world. Putting all gay people, or Travellers in a box and thinking of them in a blanket way makes it easier to deal with the unknown.

Stereotyping is categorising someone based on a mental image, rather then one presented by an individual.




Myth:

'Gay people only go to gay bars. They like clubbing, dance music and taking drugs.'

Truth

Many gay people enjoy gay venues for a number of reasons. As mentioned in The first myth buster, gay people are a diverse bunch just like straight people, and as likely to be into rock music and stamp collecting as they are clubbing and drinking games. Being gay doesn't mean you have to join a special club with behaviour guidelines, nor does it mean you need to abandon and ignore your heritage and culture. If you prefer a quiet chat and a coffee to a noisy night of clubbing, then go for it. Don't be defined by your sexuality and what some people think it encompasses - just be yourself!




Myth:

'In a gay relationship, who plays the man and who plays the woman?'

Truth:

Because we're raised to think of a relationship in male-female role terms, people assume these roles are copied in a same-sex relationship. People might assume there is a female (passive, penetrated) and male (dominant, penetrator) role in the bedroom of a same-sex male relationship, or that one woman in a lesbian relationship is butch and manly while the other is feminine.

These sort of ideas about relationship roles are very old fashioned, whether looking at a Gay or Straight relationship. Again, people are very diverse and they create diverse relationships with unique qualities.




Myth:

'Gay Travellers can't have "real" relationships like straight people can.'

Truth:

Some people view same-sex relationships are inferior or 'not the real thing'. Some view being gay as a weird sexual fetish rather than someone's sexuality, and think that real romantic love can only be found with someone of the opposite sex. This is especially common in the psychosocial mind-set of the Travelling community.

Gay people can fall in love and have wonderful relationships just like heterosexual people can - the feelings are the same. Gay relationships are as likely to succeed or fail as straight relationships, and similarly, it's the people in the relationship who make or break it.

People are capable of real, lasting, romantic love. That means everyone.




Myth:

'Gay Travellers are more prone to mental illness.'

Truth:

Being gay is not a mental health problem itself, but mental health problems among gay people are relatively high.

Gay people, especially those of a minority such as the Travelling community face obstacles and challenges that straight people usually don't. It's tough growing up gay when the world around you and the tradition you were born into may be telling you that it's wrong.

Homophobia and bullying, feelings of isolation and loneliness contribute to poor mental health, which is only increased by the exclusion of Travellers (for both internal and external reasons) from mainstream society. It's no wonder that some (though far from all) gay people feel unable to cope and develop mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

But nobody is born depressed or anxious. It's our environment and negative life experiences that can result in these problems, regardless of whether you are gay or straight, Traveller or from the broader community.