Lesbian hotline ready for launch

By Xu Jitao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-11 09:02

After launching China's first free hotline for gay men, the Chiheng Foundation in Shanghai will offer a similar service later this month for lesbians.

The new hotline is aimed at both lesbians and women confused about their sexuality.

It begins operating on November 25.

"In the past, we noticed that lesbians needed extra help compared with gays,"said Yang Shanping, a Chiheng Foundation officer. He pointed out while gay men nowadays were becoming more accepted in society and by their families, lesbians still faced many diffi culties. "Most people don't know what kind of support lesbians need most,"said Yang.

"We have heard that when lesbians try to seek legal and psychological help, they cannot fi nd the proper person or organization."

Shen Yimu, another officer at the foundation, said when the gay hotline was launched in May, many lesbians rang for help on the number, too. "But all the volunteers for that hotline are gay men. They don't know much about the detailedissues that most lesbians are facing. So, we decided to set up a hotline especially for lesbians," Shen said.

Ten lesbian volunteers have been recruited to work on the hotline and will undergo intensive training programmes.

"All of them are required to receive strict legal, psychological and medical training before they start to answer the calls," Shen said.

"Some of them have profound knowledge in law, the medical sector and psychology. For example, one volunteer is a doctor and has served for a homosexual and HIV hotline in Guangzhou for a long time."

He added that conversations will be recorded for quality control and that volunteers will be strictly forbidden to privately contact callers.

The hotline will be available between 2 pm to 4 pm every Saturday at 800-988-929, or 021-6380-4448 from mobile phones. "We will try to answer all legal, psychological and medical questions that confuse lesbians," Shen said.

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