CONTACT SUPPORTS ANTI-HOMOPHOBIA WEEK
Homophobic attitudes and behaviour still result in social exclusion, prejudicial bullying and serious criminal assault in NI.
As a direct result of homophobia, young gay people in particular suffer much higher risk of self-harm and suicide than their hetrosexual peers.
During NI Anti-Homophobia Week led by the Rainbow Project (14th-20th May), we want your readers to know that help, understanding and support are always available from Lifeline 0808 808 8000, the regional 24/7 crisis counselling service.Lifeline www.lifelinehelpline.info helped 78 callers in crisis last year who told us directly of the dreadful impact of homophobia on their lives and the lives of their families and friends.
If you suffer distress or despair, on any issue, call Lifeline 0808 808 8000.
We work in close cooperation with the Rainbow Project (www.rainbowproject.org) and Lesbian Line (www.lesbianlinebelfast.org.uk) who also provide a range of excellent support and advocacy services, combating homophobia, which we regard as the irrational fear of sexual identities other than the dominant heterosexual so called ‘norm’.
At Contact, where we lead the regional Lifeline crisis counselling service, we accept human sexuality as a random fact of life, no more subject to adjustment than blood type, skin colour or finger print. Conversely, we regard homophobic beliefs as irrational, based entirely upon misinformation, prejudice and ignorance.
During anti-homophobia week we welcome the 30 year celebration on de-criminalising homosexuality in NI. We encourage all efforts to dismantle the immense dangers posed by homophobia, by campaigning for change through evidence based education and legislation designed to stop and punish homophobic hate crime and expose homophobic attitudes and behaviour for the misery and injustice they cause to so many of our children, our friends and our families in NI.
Lifeline is here 24/7, every day of the year, providing crisis advice, support and counselling, wishing success to all anti-homophobia efforts this week and every week.
Fergus Cumiskey, Clinical Director, Contact/Lifeline
Norma Patterson, Corporate Director, Contact/Lifeline