Author: Ruarí Issac McClay, 29, Mixed Traveller, Genderqueer Butch
It's only been since march 1st 2017 that Mincéir were recognized as Indigenous Irish by the state
We've been around at least since the days of the gods of old, when the tuatha de denannan walked the isles, it's said we learned a lot of our herb craft from Airmid herself as she wandered looking for the plant remains of her beloved brother, yet somehow it still took fighting till March 1st 2017 for recognition.
I invite you, dearest reader, to just let that sink in for a second.
I'll forever be working to try and reconnect because of the shame and horror my own family had to face, not just because of being Minc mind, but because like a lot of Gypsy families I have several offshoots in multiple Traveller communities.
I was raised to hide and to lie about my family's heritage, all parts of it, and to never ever try to find out more about it, it was a shame.
Our ethnicity and culture was a shame; The damage that has been done will be felt for generations.
I'm still untangling the trauma and damage from events that happened to my direct family members in the 1920's & 1930's
And that's just the events and people I do know, so much has been lost to time, it's too much to bear some days, the grief weighs heavy.
I was the only one of my cousins that knew the full extent of the secrets forced on us by denial of questions and abuse.
But it turned out I was pretty used to keeping secrets after all I had a few of my own to keep being a Queer child of a Queer mother in the 90's, I got so good at keeping secrets that I started lying to myself.
Telling myself the grief wasn't there, that it didn't hurt to hide different parts of myself depending on the company I kept and who was safe to know what parts of me.
Finding Traveller pride has been like finding a group of good people, who are armed with glue!
not just that but are willing to patiently offer kindness and the freedom to explore how best the broken pieces fit back together, all while sharing a oftentimes hilarious story in solidarity or just to make the time rebuilding yourself pass easier.