Queerline behind schedule, expected to meet goals
By Anton Vidgen
The support line for queer youth operated by the University Students' Council has missed its self-imposed deadline for branching out into the London community, with the service currently only advertised to students on campus.
Queerline, a volunteer-staffed support line for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth, was set up in Jan. 2002 and promptly submitted a proposal to the City of London for additional funding. A grant of approximately $14,000 was given in part on the basis the service would be expanded and promoted in local high schools.
A copy of the proposal, obtained by The Gazette, states those involved in Queerline will "work over the summer to prepare the program for a city-wide launch in September of 2003." To date, the service is only advertised on Western's campus.
Julia Rady, Queerline commissioner for the USC, said the delay is partly due to Queerline receiving funding later than expected. "The funds were transferred at the end of the summer," she said, adding promotional materials could only be ordered once the funding was secured. "[After that] it took a few weeks for all materials to be published," she explained.
Rady also pointed to communication problems with the Thames Valley District School Board, saying some principals were apprehensive about fully supporting Queerline without prior board authorization. "At the same time, [the principals] are supportive of moving the line into high schools."
USC VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy said despite the delay, the objective remains the same. "By the end of this semester I'd like to say the service has been fully expanded city-wide," she said.
Rady echoed Kennedy's plans. "Despite it being past the Sep. 2003 proposal date, I'm pleased with the progress on the line," Rady said. "It's definitely going to be city-wide by the end of the semester."
According to Kennedy, promotion of Queerline is already underway. "Informational packages are currently being prepared and sent to the high schools."
Rady said she agreed that sending out the information was a top priority. "It's just going about initializing the packages," she said.
Noting she was "both cautious and optimistic," Rady said she wants to ensure Queerline has strong foundations before its scheduled expansion. "It's important that the line is up to standards - if not high standards - before it's merited to be embraced by the London community."