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My Escape from a Life Among the Romany Gypsies

by Mikey Walsh

Pub Date: March 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-02187-8
Publisher: St. Martin's

The boldly intimate memoir of an English Gypsy's struggle to define himself and his sexuality outside the bounds of traditional Romany culture.

Walsh (Gypsy Boy, 2012) grew up in the rough-and-tumble world of Gypsies, where men "oozed testosterone and masculinity" and "drank, argued over women and produced sons." From the time he was a young boy, though, he knew he was different. His father wanted to transform him into a fighter worthy of the family name. However, "thrashing the stuffing" out of boys "just for the sake of some misguided sense of honour” made no sense at all. Tired of both his father's inability to accept him for what he was and of the secret sexual abuse he endured from his father's brother, Walsh ran away from home at 15. He went to live with his lover Caleb, who protected him from the Gypsy thugs his father hired to track them down. Walsh fled to Leeds and then Manchester, struggling to build a life among the "Gorgias." His relationship with Caleb did not survive, but other friends he made in the gay community helped him find his way. Against all odds, Walsh earned a college degree and also gained a coveted place at the Guildhall School of Drama in London. But he missed his family and worried for the safety of his youngest brother, who he feared would be molested by his unscrupulous uncle. Eventually, he exposed his father's brother for the predator he was. Neither Walsh's father nor his fighter-brother, however, could ever fully accept that homosexuality was part of their macho family heritage. Sadly aware that he would never be able to "go back to the family home again," Walsh nevertheless continued to love them from the new home he had made for himself outside the Gypsy community.

A great-hearted book of tenderness and brutality.