Why do people hate Travellers so much?

by mediocremum on 03/02/2011

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Watching Big Fat Gypsy Wedding reminds me of when I first moved to the UK over 11 years ago.  Please bear in mind that prior to this I had no experience of travellers.  I was walking to the pub with my partner at the time; we had an open field behind our house.   I said ‘look there are some people camping over there’.  He immediately went ballistic.  I didn’t understand why, as I thought the whole idea of moving from place to place as a community sounded quite quaint.  Until they left, leaving a mess behind that the council and inevitably us to pay for the clean up.

I’m absolutely fascinated by the paradox between their strong morals (no alcohol or sex before marriage for the girls) and the ‘sleazy’, for lack of a better word, attire which stretches to spectacular wedding dresses.  I have to admit the provocative dancing, spray tanning six year olds and the ritual of ‘Grabbing’ made me very uncomfortable.

I’m a very curious soul and after the first episode spent a lot of time on the internet researching the history, ideals and way of life.  From what I read it all sounds very idyllic so why are they hated so much?  The hashtag #bfgw on Twitter is evidence of this.

From what I can work out there are true travellers and then there are those that masquerade as travellers, the latter being the ones that most people have experienced. Unfortunately, to date I’ve only had a few dealings with travellers and sorry to say neither of them were positive.  It reminds me of teenagers, many think they’re all horrible obnoxious creatures but this may be just because these are the ones we see terrorizing town and the quiet well behaved ones go unnoticed.

I had so many questions, so, I was pleasantly surprised on Tuesday night when @tinatubss appeared in my timeline.  We’ve been following each other for ages but I didn’t realise or had forgotten that she was a traveller.  She was very open to all of my questions and I do apologize to her for my lack of frontal screening or if it seemed insensitive at any point.  She taught me a thing or two.  Here are her answers to my questions.  I have her full permission to publish it and she is more than happy to take questions.

I have very strong links and beliefs.  I even look like a Gypsy.  My Gypsy name is Segonia, but my name is Christina now.

If you like reading buy Yellow on the Broom by Betsy White then the Sequels as you will love them.

We just have our own laws and that’s it.  Never ask questions just do as we are told.  My Daddy was a traveller.

I didn’t put my children to school and kept them home and they have done fantastic.

You’re right, they are under educated, but it’s what they choose, they are ignorant people but very interesting.

Have you seen my girls they’re amazing and very open minded through their upbringing.

but travellers have home educators who come to their vans.  It’s the law in this country!

I understand you, we moved a lot so schooling was difficult but I wanted them at home anyway.  Education is important definitely.

That’s why they hold them back so they don’t know any different and can’t choose.  It’s sad! :(

It’s difficult being a parent and deciding what is best.  I showed my kids all ways and walk and let them choose their direction.

Do you mean the programme unfair representation?  If so, it’s difficult because Scotland has load of travellers not Gypsies but…

People don’t understand the difference but it’s huge Gypsies are a minority, Tinkers are the Majority and travellers big in S/land

We are definitely watching Gypsies NOT travellers

Yes, very big, they hate each other, never camp near each other; they never ever go near each other.

I’m a traveller NOT a gypsy.  My daddy’s family were travellers.  So so so different from Gypsies, it’s an insult!

They have different beliefs totally, we work very hard and honestly and our children are everything to us J

Do read the book and it will be very clear how lovely our way of life is compared to the Gypsies.

People are ignorant and scared of us.  So, retaliate instead of asking us questions.

I have been living in a house for 3 years and hate it.  I’m buying a woodlands hopefully and live in a caravan again.

We have always worked as foresters and all the children worked too!  I pay all my taxes but use alternative therapy.

Only docs when I’ve tried everything else.  I love you asking!  We eat with the seasons also.  Eat what is growing now.

My children were home educated and Rudolf Steiner and state schools so they could integrate out with my beliefs.

I’m a great believer of letting children be heard from a very young and have their own choices and say and learn from that.

Some people thought my children were cheeky and rude but they were confident and very individual.  They’re amazing!

Ha ha you can’t live in a Caravan the local council evicted us out of our home, we live in a *HOUSE* yuk yuk yuk!

A big thank you to Christina for answering all my questions.  I would love to learn more about this group of people but I suspect the BBC won’t be focussing on them as it wouldn’t get the ratings!  Off to buy Yellow on the Broom.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Queenof7oaks February 3, 2011 at 9:39 am

There are proper gypsies families who attend my daughters school and they are truly lovely people. Admittedly they keep themselves to themselves but over the years they have began to integrate more-some of them now even send their daughters to pre school. Most of them felt that bfgw was shameful as thats not how they behave. Also, although beautifully dressed, not one of their girls wears provocative clothing like they do on there. You never see the dads at the school gates and the boys are all taught to “look after their women” but as far as I’m aware all the kids, including the girls have gone on to secondary school. As you say, there are different types of traveller and the good get tarred with the same brush as the ones who cause chaos.


2 Tina_adamczyk February 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm

very well said thankyou ! they are very proud of there children and would never harm them ! my 3 children are my whole world x


3 Dianne February 3, 2011 at 9:56 am

Very interesting! Most people have experiences with gypsies and think everyone who lives in a caravan are the same!! I used to work for the Post Office and have delivered dole cheques from different areas to one person at a static gypsy caravan site, different names, of course. I now work reading water meters and have visited a property where the next-door neighbour came rushing out to see what I wanted. She explained that her neighbour was vulnerable and that the gypsies from a local permanent site were doing jobs and charging her neighbour lots of money. My experience of gypsies make me see them in the light of Arthur Daylies of the worst kind. They don’t care who they con to get lots of money for the least amount of work!! They show that they only care for themselves by the mess and squaller they leave behind!! Horses they own are chained up on public land with no shelter and hardly any water!!!!!


4 Tina February 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm

hi Dianne these people you are talking about are probably ‘tinkers’ they are totally different from travelllers and a true gypsy would NEVER claim benefit they are so secretive they would not divulge any personel information !! i hope you can understand what im saying ,travellers are very proud people :)


5 Mediocremum February 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Hate to say but we had a similar situation in our neighbourhood. They prayed on one of my 80 year old neighbours. Luckily, we have a stong community. However, it too 4 teams of police to remove them. I was pleased to read in the local rag that he received 18 months in jail. My only worry is for her safety now as they know where she lives. However, I believe this person was from the minority of travellers that we are talking about.


6 zooarchaeologist February 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

How interesting, what I find fascinating is that every single traveller I have ever met has been nothing but friendly welcoming and informative. Again, its the visible/vocal minority which seem to ruin impressions for everybody. Within local museums there have been a few projects working with traveller communities to great effect (including one touring Herts). I’m off to get that book too…


7 Tina February 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

You will love the book ,you may get it on amazon for a few pounds , i will never part with mine i read it so so many times :)


8 Anonymous February 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm

This is a really interesting post! My sister is a registrar and she has carried out a few gypsy and traveller weddings and the difference is incredible. I haven’t seen the programme myself but I’ve heard a lot about it and I think it’s such a shame that yet again the media have focussed on the minority to gain ratings. It’s sad that everyone will be tarred with the same brush due to this programme.


9 Tasha Goddard February 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Thank you, this is very interesting. I haven’t watched the programme at all and have been made very uncomfortable by some of the comments and derogatory terms I’ve seen peppering Facebook and Twitter. I have family who consider themselves travellers (of the new age type, though, which is a whole other thing!). When I lived in Spain as a child, there was a huge gypsy community and I made friends with a young gypsy boy, and we would play board games while my parents had a drink. That’s about it with my personal experiences, but I really dislike any negative generalisation about any race or group, and it seems particularly bad when it comes to travellers and gypsies.


10 Tina February 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

i agree with you fully :)


11 Abbie Taylor February 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I’m interested to know what you mean by travellers and those that pose as travellers? My big fat gypsy wedding also focuses on the irish travelling community which is a distinct cultural group from english romany travellers.


12 Mediocremum February 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Honestly can’t get my head around all the different groups….


13 Jolie October 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Me neither! Very confusing. I honestly thought *Gypsies* were of Roma heritage…based in southern or eastern Europe and the Travellers were of Irish descent and Tinkers of Scottish descent. Sounds like the names or groups are overlapping.


14 Kate Collings February 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Would be intersted to know what you think of the book. Also when I worked in a pub we had some travellers in and I pulled one of them because he called himself a Gypsey and I said “I thought you were Travellers as you wernt allowed to be called Gypsey’s”. His response was too offensive and mentioned a certain race which I am not willing to disclose. But my opinion of him and his friends went straight out of the window. I wasnt going to break the law by serving alcohol to them after we had called time. However seeing some of the young girls on C4 I have seen a different side to the women (especially after the ones in the pub were as rude, offensive and a down right pain). I have seen a side of sensitvity and tranditional upbringing. Some of them didnt even agree with the old traditions of ‘grabbing’ etc. Anyway could go on for ages. Good and thought provoking post. Thanks for sharing Hope to see you over at ‘Two men, a cat and me’ soon xx


15 Annierobb123 February 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm

fantastic blog Chrissie, very informative and want to follow Tina now too. I grew up next to a travellers site in West London and was desperate to know what went on there, have only encountered the wrong gypsies myself, and locally the biggest gypsy family share my surname so we are never out of the local papers!


16 Stayathomemummy February 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Really like this blog, a great post very interesting to hear the comments direct from a traveller. I believe in every community there are good and not so good people, its a shame that certains types of community are ultimatically stigamatised. stacey x


17 Demi June 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

im a gypsy and we can do what we want


18 Bill June 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm

“their strong morals (no alcohol or sex before marriage for the girls)”?

They get married at about 14 so how much sex and alcohol could they have before that?


19 alex September 3, 2011 at 11:06 am

they steal expensive alloy wheels to sell for scrap.
they steal lead from church roofs and from graveyards.
they steal cables from the BT green boxes so we lose our phone and broadband for days at a time with no rental rebate.
they send their kids to shoplift knowing they can’t be prosecuted.


20 joe ward February 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm

true travellers do not and never will steal from churches or graveyardsso get your facts correct


21 alex September 3, 2011 at 11:07 am

(I don’t dislike most travellers/gypsies, just the ones who cause grief for others and are allowed to by the police)


22 Mrs. Girten November 13, 2011 at 4:11 am

You know… They are pretty much like trailer park people or the ‘hood. I grew up living in trailer parks and then in the ‘hood. The only difference about them is that they have certain rules/laws and beliefs that make them gypsy or travellers from the rest of us. No biggie. I love them! They are fantastic people!!! Wish I was one of them.


23 Jack Halloran November 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm

‘We have our own laws…’

‘We do what we want….’

That just about says it all. They have their own laws but have no qualms about taking whatever they want from the settled community, including social welfare, the contents fo your house, anything that you own that has a resale value….

The travellers are scum. They want all of the benefits of a settled community that works and pays taxes, but none of the responsibility. And I have had to deal with their illegal dumping, theft, and harassing my family for too long. You want to travel? Keep going until you hit the sea and then keep going….


24 James Stewart December 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I have travellers blood inside me I’m like you hurtfull feeling is no cure, for heatred , the black cloud I was born with it sites on my head at birth and it gives me bad luck every where I go, I wish that I was jesus with the star that shines over his head and pams at my feet, just think I worshoped the ground my mother and father give me to walk on ,just like your mothers and fathers, Ive been called a black tinker ,a gypsy , hocker, olso minkers, to me Im proud of my back groung, like you should beand get on with your own life, we are all indvidgel people, know I know what a true gypsys are and Im not that jelouse tipe of man being rich like a gypsy, my family back ground they were travelling people from perthshire, lay is a thing for cuntry flattys, we dont have a law unto ourself just the freedom of the road , there is to much people interfeering with the ethnic gypsys , as well as my own back ground,the travelling people the stewarts.


25 Gypsy Gal Demi December 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

im a gypsy and i loves it you gorja fools grow UP!!!! x


26 hateem December 4, 2012 at 12:41 am

the worst experience i have had with a wannabe traveller i find them vile human beings they have hardly any morals what so ever very money minded s rip there own mothers off some of them wouldnt think twice i work with 1 on a day to day basis there seem very child like always telling people they have loads of money like there trying to justify ripping people off every chance they get most of them look after there own,i sopose they feel save they all seem to live quite close to each other, if they was needed deffently if money is involved, the worst thing i ever did was get involved in them if your not careful they can rub off on ya this guy i work with is a very low soulless shit which i would love to teach him a lesson 1 of these days carma is gonna get ya trust me if your reading this hope it scares u to see how u r pertrayed your a marked man or should i say BOY!.. now i bet that pulls on your little heart strings doesnt it just know wat goes up comes down i feel a bit better i have wrote this..


27 Demi November 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

right i am a gypsy my self and yeah you can get good gypsy and bad gypsy but the way you lot go on about us its like we eat people lol i have been living on my site ever since i was born so u dont no what us are thinking about but just get to no us i have been to go i go everyday of my life i am in year 11 and i am now doing my GCSE i ant the best reader or writing but ill give it good and the only time we fight is when we got to den we will if you want to ask me anything about this email me dcrocker@pool.cornwall.sch.uk thanks bye


28 joe ward February 4, 2013 at 7:31 pm

i am a true traveller it dont bother me what racists say most people think every traveller is the same not true all people are equal in life no matter where u are from


29 linda February 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm

what is the differents between a romani and traveller …why do all the girls wear provocative clothing for partys or weddings and do you have to get married at a young age or can you go out into the world and become a well educated successful woman ….


30 Allan March 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Hello, I am from Sydney Australia, I was randomly googling info on English Gypsies and found your site. Ive been curious about them for some years as they do not look anything like Romany from Europe. Anyway In 1984 I did the Aussie backpacker thing in the UK and visited a pub in Chester during the day. I was wearing jeans, a flannelette shirt, boots and a long green ex army great coat. And I was stone cold sober. I may have not shaved that morning. Immediately the woman behind the bar started shrieking at me ” arm nit sairvin ya! arm nit sairvin ya!” Then, a very large man gently pushed me back out the door quietly telling me ” not here sir, not here sir” I said ok I will leave but can you please tell what this is about? He wouldn’t tell me. Anyway for years I simply assumed that the pub was run by racist pigs, in fact during my 3 month trip in 1984 around Europe and the UK, this was the only time I encountered open racism. Anyway, jump forward decades later and I am a fan of quality English crime shows, New Tricks, Waking the Dead etc…some episodes feature English gypsies or travellers as protaginists, and guess what some of the guys are wearing? the same style of clothes I wore in 1984 in that pub in Chester! Now I understand what those people in that pub thought I was, a gypsy or traveller, after all the woman behind the bar was shreiking at me before I said a word, so her hate was based on my appearance.


31 they steal October 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

They are scummy and uneducated, they come in for free haircuts and steal and leave by pretending to fetch their wallets , then run off, of course this has happened to me on 3 occasions. They are backward and archaic in their thinking and think all women should stay at home and have children. This is going against my upbringing as a money making, educated, career woman. They are anti women.


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