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A forum for LGBTQ members of the Irish Travelling and Roma Community, those that support there right of expression and wish to construct a way to mediate between the community, culture and sexual identity.Feel free to chat, commune, seek and give advice.
 
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 Our New Neighbours...

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wizweb
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PostSubject: Our New Neighbours...   Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:46 pm

Hi,

As a settled person my knowledge of the Traveller community is limited. As much my own fault as any other reason.

I've often lived physically close to travellers without issue. Well there was one time a traveller mate fell out with me because he assumed I was shagging his Mrs because I was close to her. Little did he realise she was just what you'd call a Fag Hag!

Anyway where I'm living in Dublin we've always had a campsite near us without issue and everyone gets on well. Recently a large encampment of a different traveller family moved on to a plot of land beside us and this has caused issue with both commumities. I don't have an issue with them. I do have an issue with Dublin City Council though not offering them a proper site with sanitary and safe facilities for them and their children. I'm also worried that the settled community are being negatively reactive and full of assumptions and sterotypes just like they are with gays.

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to approach these issues from a travellers perspective before lines are crossed by either or both sides. Both have made threats to each other and I'm concerned this may esculate out of control. Again I've no issue with this encampment but with the failings of the State towards protecting this minority and offering them a suitable site here or elsewhere to meet their needs.
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A Wandering Minstrel
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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:48 pm

Hi wizweb,

If you are looking for more information about Irish Travellers, the Irish Traveller Movement (http://www.itmtrav.ie/) and Pavee Point (http://www.paveepoint.ie/) both have quite extensive websites covering a range of issues faced by Travellers. That might be a good starting point for you.

From the ITM website you'll see there are many local Traveller organisations and I'm sure if you feel moved to act they'd welcome your support. It's very difficult for an individual to act to remedy a difficult situation. However, in acting with others, through community development, we can achieve change together.

Illegal behaviours, such as making violent threats against others, are dealt with by our law enforcers, the Garda Siochana. The behaviours need to be addressed not the ethnicity of those involved.

It is unfortunate that mediation appears not to be going on in this case where you perceive there is a danger of things 'escalating out of control'. Mediation is a specialist area and takes a lot of training and experience to be done well. It works when both/all parties agree to work towards resolving a situation.

As settled people, and Travellers, we can challenge use of anti-Traveller language and discrimination. We all know that this is very common and sometimes we are able to challenge use of it in the same way we challenge use of homophobic language, when we can.

As a woman who has gay male friends I'm not too keen on the use of the term 'Fag Hag' as I think this diminishes my friendships.

I think what is most interesting about your post wiz is that you seem very clear that the state has let Travellers down. That is a good analysis of a difficult situation. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. I hope we see you along at one of the meetings of the Gay Pavee Forum.

Cheers

AWM
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wizweb
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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:06 pm

Hi AWM,

Thank you for your informative and detailed response.

Since I started this thread I've already sanctioned for and initiated correspondence locally between both communities with regard to mediation as a logical, adult and fair solution for all involved. I should state here that I'm a qualified social worker and have experience in this area. This offers me a unique experience to see the current scenario from both perspectives. Though admittedly my work to date with the travelling community has been limited thus I chose to create this thread for input from a travellers perspective.

I've set in motion the wheels of change for the residents committee to stear clear of making this an ethnic or racist issue and to concentrate on the failure of Dublin City Council to provide adequate facilities for travellers in my area. Unfortunately some settled residents are ignorant in their assertions but I've buffered their anger by seeking to engage leading members of this committee to seek discourse with leaders of this family. Again there are a few protaginists on both sides with negative attitudes and opinions but I'm working on them through education and cooperation but we're at an early stage.

Thank you for for information on Pavee Point and the Irish Travellers Movement. I've some knowledge of their services and will utilise them if required.

Unfortunately the Garda have ignored ongoing issues with both communities in the past and currently. I'm well aware of the bias in legislation that offers them powers such as Section 24 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002 which allows them to evict caravans with no notice with an option of initiating a prison sentence and/or fine. Also Section 10 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992 which could be used to evict as the travellers are within 5 miles of an official site. The Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948 could also be used too for example. My point being that the Gardai have used these powers eagerly in the past and I couldn't see how their involvement would offer a fair solution to the local travelling community. again it's up to individuals to report threats of violence etc and that's their choice and entitlement. Remember our State still doesn't even offer to recognise travellers as an ethnic group in society.

I apoligise for how you took my humourous reference to 'Fag Hags'. It certainly wasn't personal and was only used in the context of clarification of the point being made. I've lots of straight friends both male and female as well as gay. lesbian, bi and transgendered acquantances. I used the term 'Fag Hag' as any of the heterosexual women that congregate in a predominantly gay environment with me to date have labeled themselves with this name happily. Just as personally I've embraced the words queer, puff, fag, poo pusher etc lol. Again there was no offense meant by this statement. But in saying that I can't comprehend how a gay man can call himself 'straight acting' when he participates in felatio for example with another man so I see your point of reference.

The Gay Pavee Forum sounds like an excellent resource and if time permits I hope to attend one day and thank you for the invite.

Keith Smile
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wizweb
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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:52 pm

Hi again AWM,

Just from reading through the posts on reflection I see your actually lesbian or possibly bi so my statement regarding 'heterosexual women' may be out of context regarding my point but I know some same sex attracted ladies and bi's that have embraced this terminology. Again they shouldn't have to if they so choose. It's there choice.

A 'hag' does have some unkind and possibly negative connotations. In fairness I would be labeled very masculine by others in normal day to day activities but do not see myself as 'straight acting' just like you wouldn't see yourself as a hag lol. Infact I don't know any actual hags or pillow biters come to think of it but you know yourself lol geek
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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:01 pm

Apologies for the delay in response – I actually typed a far more lenthy reply (at an earlier hour too) on Thursday last, though it seems to of disappeared into the aether. If anyone else is having post problems please mail me (apart from being a tad annoying I've to make sure it's more my server and less the site and its auto back up recording).

As a member of the travelling community I would affirm that it is somewhat essential to treat such anti social behaviour as an actions of individuals and not that of a cultural flow.

While the Garda may not have an impeccable record of treatment I feel that it is vital that peace is maintained and that such threats do not go unchallenged or ignored. No case is ever clear cut, as the possibilities of human interaction and variances of situation will always have its standing, never the less such a situation is best presented to the powers that be for a more pronounced delegation. While such legislation as the ones you have quotes may of being abused in the past, it is not I feel a reliable warrant to resist such implements of social order.

Have you contacted the local Traveller organisations and made them aware of the situation and your own personal concerns? They are I am sure more then willing to react to any concerns
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moniker
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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:44 pm

Reading the original post youv spent time with Travellers and had a close Traveller friend so ou should know that Travellers are people and even if our culture is a bit different our humanity is the same. theres really no excuse for such carry on and the shades really should be called in over it. We might have a lot of our own ways of dealing with things but laws of protection are there for a reason. Were here to live, not beat or scare the shite out of each other.

I totally get what your saying though about if the guards get called in that other people might get caught up in it and moved on but you know what if it takes for that for some people to move away from the trouble makers then it might be for the best

let us know how it all goes on.
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A Wandering Minstrel
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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:41 pm

It seems wizweb has taken some action. I hope it’s going well for all concerned. I saw the post as an opportunity to give some details about two national Traveller organisations’ websites. I think they’re decent websites to get information about Traveller issues. It’s good to see Hanu Fein and Moniker have contributed to the discussion. I’d be interested in responses to their inputs.

There is a history of difficulty for members of the Traveller community accessing services of the gardai. While I support people to call for assistance in dealing with violence or threats of violence I would NOT advocate the use of the other Acts that referred to which have been used to criminalize Travellers. I certainly am aware of how these Acts have been misused.

We all have different words we use to describe others and ourselves. Our comfort with those words inevitably differs. One of the meanings of hag, for example, is a witch, while I’m not generally a witch myself though sometimes I do try it out, I’ve some friends who identify as witches and would be comfortable with the word hag. I’ve never come across the term pillow biters. I’ve led a very sheltered life perhaps!


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PostSubject: Re: Our New Neighbours...   Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:41 pm

Hey all,

Sorry I've not been online in a bit. Been up to my eyes recently with various things.

I was trying to act devils advocate so to speak and even got involved with the residents committee briefly to try to to work on mutual co-operation with both communities. Unfortunately I witnessed several hostile reactions from the settled community with a stance from the committee organisers advocating for non involovement in discussions with the travellers! I can't and won't represent this belief. I attempted various solutions to this with this group and the residents but old negative stereotypes appear to prevail. At one stage I was fortunate to win over a very hostile large crowd who attempted to formulate a vigalante group supervising who was entering our estate for example! Totally crazy and racist in construct. I've communicated with local politicians and councillors looking for a suitable solution for all with an emphasis in completing suitable habitable areas as originally promised for travellers in this area. They and Dublin City Council at best have ignored me or made excuses around this request and at worst have made replies stating how they are supporting pushing through new legislation enforcing Garda powers to remove the travellers! I fear we live in a deeply unfair society and I am disgusted at how public servants can instill such policies. The committee organiser also does not want to talk to Pavee Point etc......

The Garda have been spoken to too but have delegated all responsibility back to council inaction.

Personally I'd love to involve the travellers in the local community and work towards organising activities of mutual benefit but I'm in a very small minority there. One positive note is that the settled community kids and traveller kids are mixing well and hanging out together. One hopes the adults learn from this experience. I can understand where they are coming from with their fears around property devaluation though with an illegal encampment on their doorstep. Also there are some valid health and safety issues. Most of the settled people are reasonable in ther reactions but one or two loud mouths are stearing things to suit themselves. One offered to install security cameras for example at a discount from his business!

Lad, ladies and witches! I'm taking a step back from this but if there are any major changes I'll update you then. Right I'll bite my lip for a bit as biting my pillow may be inappropriate Wink

I want to thank everyone for their input to this thread. For now things appear to have settled (no pun intended!) and hopefully stay that way. It appears the locals fears are mostly unfounded so they can and hopefully will burn their white capes and crosses to keep themselves warm in this cold weather Smile
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