Volume 96, Issue 60
Thursday, January 16, 2003

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Queerline launch a success

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Tuesday night marked the successful launch of the Queerline, a support line for homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered in the London community.

On its first night, Queerline received 12 phone calls, which is considerable, when compared to the two or three phone calls most other campus support lines receive, said University Students' Council VP-campus issues Nicole Nelson.

Many members of the community are curious about the support line, so the initial response was impressive and the nature and frequency of the phone calls will normalize, Nelson said.

"We're thrilled," said Jen Leppard, USC pride commissioner and co-president of Queer Western Ontario, adding the results came after only a day of advertising.

The Queerline was established in consultation with QWO because it is felt that gays are at risk in the community, Nelson said.

The consensus among the community was that an avenue of support for gays was needed and would not have happened if it were not for the initiative shown by the USC, Leppard said.

The Queerline has also generated a lot of support from the community, Nelson said, adding the Homophile Association of London Ontario, Western's women's studies faculty and several other community organizations have provided support. Additionally, the 30 volunteers that work the phones for Queerline were trained by members of the AIDS community, health groups and several other local organizations, Nelson added.

The gay community in London and at Western has changed dramatically over the last three years, Leppard said, adding three years ago there was no gay support organization on campus.

Leppard said a large number of universities in Canada even have a resource centre for homosexuals, but there are hopes that the Queerline could provide the foundation for a homosexual resource centre on campus.

Queerline can be reached at 850-BLUR (2587).

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