We don’t feel safe: LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma at greater risk of homelessness, verbal and physical abuse and serious mental health issues.
This is the finding of a peer-research published today by the National Action Group for LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma Rights, a coalition of LGBTI+ Travellers & Roma, Traveller & Roma and LGBTI+ organisations and services.
The IHREC funded peer-to-peer research, entitled “Unveiling Inequality– Experiences of LGBTI+ Travellers & Roma” looks at the lived experience of LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma in Ireland and unveils how LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma face homophobia, anti-Traveller and anti-Roma racism and a combination of the two in their own communities, the LGBTI+ community & the wider society.
It found that LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma experience high levels of harassment, serious mental health issues and are disproportionally affected by homelessness with:
- 39% having experienced homelessness,
- 42% reporting some form of physical attack,
- 93% having been verbally hurt,
- 60% having experienced suicidal thoughts and
- 33% having attempted suicide.
- Only 11% LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma said they felt safe.
The research, launched in Dublin today, also found that fear of rejection or discrimination by their communities, and when accessing services, was prevalent for almost all of the research participants. Managing a minority identity within a minority identity, for many only compounds their already significant feelings of isolation and disconnection.
The report also highlights experiences of great support from family and loved ones on their journeys.
Welcoming the publication of this research, Chairperson of the National Action Group for LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma Rights, Oein DeBhairdúin said: “This report is a sobering reminder of the much required and forward steps needed towards achieving a more equal and safe society for LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma. As beautiful as the intersectionality of our identities can be, for most it is also a point of great fear and concern of safety with many of the spaces of support proving gravely insufficient or underdeveloped.”
The National Action Group for LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma Rights highlights the lack of specific LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma supports and the report recommends:
- ensuring greater representation of Traveller and Roma LGBTI+ people in public awareness and education campaigns,
- an effective response to the serious mental health issues impacting LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma nationally &
- actions to improve care for LGBTI+ Travellers and Roma in both LGBTI+ and Traveller and Roma organisations.
Collette O’ Regan, representative of LGBT Ireland on the National Action Group for LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma Rights, said “if an LGBTI+ Traveller or Roma doesn’t come to our spaces due to fear of racism, then we must be really concerned about this, and embarrassed. Every LGBTI+ person needs to know they have a safe space in the LGBTI+ community including our rainbow kin in our indigenous ethnic minority, as well as other ethnic minorities”.
The research was funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and supported by LGBT Ireland, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Exchange House Ireland, the Irish Traveller Movement, the National Traveller Women’s Forum, and Tallaght Travellers CDP, members of the National Action Group for LGBTI+ Traveller and Roma Rights.
For more information about this report please contact
Oein DeBhairdúin – Email: [email protected] Phone: 089 408 4959
Colette O’ Regan – Email: [email protected] Phone: 01 – 685 9280