Irish gay Traveller group honoured by president

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An Irish support group for gay Travellers has been honoured for its work.

President Mary McAleese presented the Traveller Pride Awards in Dublin yesterday and paid tribute to the work of the Gay Traveller Support Group.

According to the Irish Times, she said that although Travellers often face rejection and prejudice, those who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans suffer more.

“For many kids who grew up . . . as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, we know that very often the first words of exclusion that they will hear . . . will likely be in their own home,” she said.

“You can imagine the loneliness and the misery of that existence and the pressure it puts on.”

Ms MacAleese added that LGBT Travellers were far more likely than others in the community to suffer mental health problems and attempt suicide.

The Gay Traveller Support Group won one of the ten honours, the Community Award.

Founder Rosaleen McDonagh, who also won the Overall Traveller Pride 2010 Award, said: “There are a hundred ways to be a Traveller and being gay is just one of them.”