There is more prejudice towards being a Traveller than being gay Hughie Maughan says

The Dublin native spoke to Claire Byrne about the lack of allyship towards the Traveller community in Ireland.

Portrait of Traveller activist Hughie Maughan.
Image: Twitter: @Hughie_Maughan

Reality TV star Hughie Maughan has revealed he faces more prejudice for being a Traveller than he does for being gay. The 27-year-old from Ballymun has lived on and off Traveller sites his whole life, and publicly came out as gay during his time on Big Brother.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne show, Hughie stated: “[Travellers] don’t have any allyship. Not only do we not have allyship, it’s bizarre that there’s allyship for people that are so prejudiced towards us.

“And not only is prejudice so acceptable, that even on social media people can make these comments that we know you wouldn’t get away with today in so much cancel culture. We wouldn’t get away with saying for any other racial background.”

Comparing the stigma towards being gay and being a Traveller, Hughie Maughan explained: “Me as a gay man, definitely I wouldn’t face that about being gay, but I get it for being a Traveller.”

He added that the use of slurs such as “k*****r”, “is another example of how it’s very acceptable to say certain things about Travellers than it would be any [other] background.”

“If you look in Dublin for example, people use that word very frivolously even if they’re not referring to Travellers. It could be anyone who portrays the traits of the negative stereotypes of Travellers, so somebody that steals, oh ‘the k*****r’ that done that.”

The activist continued to highlight the double standards that the Traveller community faces, saying: “If I was walking down the street and somebody called me a k*****r and punched me it would be seen as bullying, I don’t think it would be seen as a racist attack.”

In contrast, “If I was walking down the street and somebody punched me and called me a f****t, that would be seen as a hate crime.”

Since his rise to fame, Maughan has been an incredibly influential figure in LGBTQ+ Traveller activism. He has continued to show resilience through the toughest of times, and exactly a year ago on March 22, 2021, he was allegedly followed and attacked by a group of teenagers in Dublin.

Hughie reported that the gang both physically and verbally attacked him, saying: “They threw bottles at me, sticks, and calling me every name under the sun, and calling me the most disgusting homophobic and derogatory names. It was literally a hate crime.” 

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