“In a world where language and naming are power, silence is oppression, is violence.” ― Adrienne Rich
There are approximately 40,000 travellers in Ireland and it is safe to estimate that many hundreds are attracted to the same sex.
Over the course of two years, the producers were able to make contact with only eight travellers who identify as gay – and only six agreed to be interviewed. The producers encountered silence and resistance, and requests for advice or participation were mostly ignored. If it wasn’t for the support and bravery of the people you will hear in this documentary, and their assistance in making contacts, this documentary would not have been possible to make. Possible reasons for the difficulty in finding LGBT+ travellers willing to tell their stories are explored in this documentary.
In ‘Prejudice and Pride’ we hear from six travellers who identify as gay (including their only female contributor, who refers to herself as “gay”, not “lesbian”). They each describe their experiences, and at the request of three of those people, their stories are spoken by actors. The producers wanted to create a platform for LGBT+ travellers to break the silence, and speak for and of themselves – so there is no voiceover, and there are no contributors who do not identify as both LGBT+ and as a traveller.
Both the LGBT+ and the traveller communities experience exclusion and discrimination – so if an individual identifies as both, it may compound the difficulties they already face. Support from family and friends can help create safety and wellbeing. On the other hand, the experience of homophobia and fear of rejection can be factors in suicide, substance misuse, self-harm, homelessness, and mental-health issues. As Mark, one of the documentary participants says, “It’s all about how your family will react”.
For travellers, suicide rates are up to six times higher than the national average, and LGBT+ people are more likely to experience mental health issues than their heterosexual counterparts. Combine these factors, and what you have is a crisis for LGBT+ travellers.
Broadcast Date: Saturday 26th November at 7am, repeated same day at 10pm
Information and support for the issues raised in this programme can be found at:
Exchange House: the national travellers service (01 872 1094 /www.exchangehouse.ie)
LGBT Pavee: An independent online and peer support group (www.lgbtpavee.com)
The National Traveller Suicide Awareness Project (www.travellersuicide.ie)
National LGBT helpline (01 685 9280 / lgbt.ie)
The Samaritans (Tel. 116 123)
BeLonG To: the national organisation for LGBT young people (www.belongto.org)
About Maurice & Shaun
Maurice Kelliher and Shaun O’Boyle began coproducing audio stories in 2013. They are particularly interested in overlooked narratives and stories from the margins. They have been commissioned to produce radio and podcasts for: BBC Radio 4, Irish Design 2015, Science Gallery Dublin, Newstalk, and Festival of Curiosity. Their radio work has been supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund. Autumn 2016 will see the broadcast of two new documentaries on Newstalk: ‘Prejudice and Pride, and ‘London, Rome, Killybegs’. Three new projects including a new drama will go into production this winter.