Lesbian Lines Reconnected seeks former focus group volunteers • GCN

The Lesbian Lines Reconnected Project is an oral archive and research project aimed at recording lesbian and queer history in Ireland, supported by the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and the youth.

What is the lesbian line? Dublin Lesbian Line is a confidential helpline, run by a group of amazing female-identifying LGBTQ+ volunteers on Thursday evenings from 6.30pm-9pm. They are dedicated to providing phone support and online support to the LGBTQ+ community.

The project invites all current and past volunteers and callers to participate in our informal focus groups to remember and celebrate this powerful work of resilience and courage.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the legacy of Lesbian Lines, which has been a lifeline for identified lesbian and LGBTQ+ women across Ireland for over 40 years.

The focus groups will connect the work done by volunteers and founding members with present and future LGBTQ+ generations.

GCN spoke to Project Manager Cara Holmes, who has been studying the inspiring work of Lesbian Lines for over two years now. The inspiration came when she attended and filmed the helpline’s 40th anniversary in 2019.

“I really felt that the history of lesbian and queer women and all of queer history was sort of forgotten or not really explored in detail. So that was the initial motivation.

Speaking about her research, she explains: “I’m interested in whether the callers have changed or if the calls themselves have changed, and I think they have, but I think some have stayed the same. for obvious reasons”

Holmes further explains what she hopes to discuss at the Lesbian Lines focus groups: “I want it to be pretty informal and have people sitting around a table and that sort of thing. It would be more conversational than anybody needing to get up and make a speech or whatever, you know, it’s really just to get together and establish the key facts like why Lesbian Lines was created, who it was has created and where there are problems implementing it.

“This project is a celebration of those helplines and the people who stood up, held the space for others to simply be. The space between the listener and the caller, the space to be heard.

This intergenerational project aims to highlight the work that has been done by the hotline but also how the youngest members of the LGBTQ+ community can benefit from this knowledge and experience.

Younger generations of lesbian/LGBTQ+ women are unaware of the existence of lesbian bloodlines in Ireland and by researching we know they are hungry to know more about their history. This project identifies a gap in knowledge of LGBTQ+ stories and will work to fill it.

There will be 4 sessions in May;

Dublin – May 7 – Outhouse, Capel Street (12pm – 2pm)

Belfast – May 8 Belfast LGBT Centre, 23 – 31 Waring Street bt1 2dx Belfast City (12pm – 2pm)

Cork – 14 May, Civic Trust House, 50 Popes Quay, Shandon, Cork, T23 R6XC Cork City (12pm – 2pm)

Galway – May 15, Nuns Island Theatre, Galway City (12 p.m. – 2 p.m.)

You can register for online sessions here.

If you have any questions about Reconnected Lesbian Lines and the chat group, please email Cara Holmes or Hannah Kelly at [email protected]

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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