On Monday 27th July, a Community-Led group for LGBT+ Travellers has launched a free therapy service and a trans solidarity fund to counteract the isolation and negative mental health that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the current discourse around Trans people coupled with the uncertainty caused by the Home Office’s renewed interest in criminalising Nomadism.
“The situation for many of us is bleak right now. There’s a hostility in the air around our identities which is worsened by the isolation and fear due to COVID. Many of us have jobs which have been gutted by lockdown and so we’re pleased to be able to offer some tangible services to people in this moment.” Said Tyler Hatwell, the founder of Traveller Pride.
“People can self-refer for therapy by contacting us through the Traveller Pride website or through our social media channels. A lot of people may be reluctant to engage in therapy, worrying that they will be rejected due to their sexuality or because they’re a Traveller. We are first giving free training to any interested therapists to ensure we are getting people with a good level of cultural awareness.”
As well as the therapy, Trans Travellers will be able to contact Traveller Pride to get funding pots of up to £50 each to help go towards clothes, binders, cosmetics or anything to make transitioning accessible to trans or non-binary people from these communities.
Tyler believes launching projects such as these is particularly important in light of Priti Patel’s renewed calls to criminalise trespass, something Traveller rights groups say will outlaw an ancient way of life. “Travellers are scared by the rhetoric coming from Priti Patel and the hate that it emboldens” he says “We are here to provide some relief, either a space where you can be heard or something material to help you feel more at ease as yourself which can be so vital at a time when we’re so often stripped of personhood in the popular imagination”.
Applications for the solidarity fund or for spaces for funded, culturally appropriate therapy are open from 27th July on the Traveller Pride website and social media channels.
In April the ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government admitted “Gypsies and Travellers are particularly vulnerable and have the potential to be disproportionally impacted by COVID-19” but left providing support up to local authorities.
Notes for Editor:
Traveller Pride was launched at Pride in London 2019 where they made history as the first GRT (Gypsy, Roma, Traveller) group to march in a UK pride parade. They are the UK’s network for LGBT+ Gypsies & Travellers.
We use “Traveller” to cover Romany Gypsies, Irish Travellers, Scottish Travellers, Roma, Showmen, Circus people, Boaters, Bargees, New Travellers, Welsh Kale.
Tyler Hatwell, Founder
Tel: 07582780039 Email: Travellerlgbtpride@gmail.com