This is indeed misfortunate and somewhat misguided. In our study of older gay and lesbian citizens living in rural south west England and Wales, we found a great deal of prejudice still exists. There are difficulties for older gays in connecting within their rural communities and often resources like a switchboard are helpful. The incidents of suicide amongst both older and younger gay people would certainly indicate that life has not become ‘much easier’ for some. A help line should be just that: help on the other end of the phone in a crisis. Read more about our study and the film produced from its findings at: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/rufus-stone/
Something like 90% of the British Population live in towns and cities and unfortunately the result is that rural populations do get overlooked as do gay people living in them. You will also find very few ethnic minority people living outside our towns and cities and in many rural areas they too suffer prejudice. However there are gay and ethnic people who have enjoyed successful lives outside our towns and interestingly, Britain’s only black Master of Foxhounds is also gay. Happily, in the village where I was raised, there is little room for intolerance and as I prefer rural life to the city I have had few problems.
So you ARE the ‘only gay in the village” ;)
I don’t think it’s that life has become much easier, it’s more that with the prevalence of computers and internet access coming across the information you require to make life better is much easier than ever.
whatever ones politics the reality is that life due to policies under labour have improved gay life a lot. they took the uk a long way from section 28.
Did you hire a Daily Mail reporter for that headline?
vs the actual quote-
“Things are much easier for gay people today than they were when the Bristol Gay Switchboard was originally set up back in 1974.”
The problem, Dr Jones, is one of apathy. We’ve struggled for years to provide a decent, useful service but increasingly we have been unable to do that because we cannot find people willing to give up a few hours of their time to offer support and help to others in the LGBT community. We cannot provide help in a crisis, as you put it, if people are unwilling to answer the phone. The whole point of transferring our service to the London Switchboard is that they can provide a seven day a week service that we, as unpaid volunteers, simply cannot.
As DC78 pointed out, the headline misquotes me; I was simply pointing out that things have moved on in the last 40 years.
The volunteers at the London switchboard are also unpaid. London is massive, it takes a good 30 mins to 1 hour for volunteers to get there. Surely the question here is why there is apathy in the first place?
Those nice people at LLGS are doing email and Instant Messages now as well as phone calls too, although perhaps they should be LGBT Switchboard, London or something a bit more inclusive these days.
“Surely the question here is why there is apathy in the first place?”
The problem with BLAGS is it has not moved on with the times. It’s stuck in the passed, oh sure its got a website that advertises a phone line. It needs to move on. Perhaps the website could have a Q&A section or a Facebook page or something that injects some vitality back into the helpline.
It is a shame that our own can’t spare some time to help others. 30 odd years ago the Bristol helpline was a friendly voice when I needed it; and sometime later I answered for the ‘phones for about two years in return.
Homosexuals are tax payers you cretin
I pay more tax than that idiot earns.
Won’t surprise me if Keith is on benefits!
Yawn. Not another name Keith. Why can’t you just keep one? You’re part of the personality disorder brigade. And your point is…… again…… you are homophobic. How many times do you have to make that point do you think? Are you not bored yet? It’s just so boring reading the same point over and over. Keith is homophobic. Yes, everyone gets it.
PN Moderator. Your web readership is going down again..
Look at the numbers.
This is NOT a place gay people want to come to, given the abuse we have to put up with.
It’s time for Keith to come along to Canal Street in Manchester and tell us what he thinks about us to our faces. I’m sure he will enjoy a swim in the Rochdale Canal! And it is time that Pink News appoints a moderator, like Huffington Post to vet comments before they become public so we don’t have to put up with abuse from closeted types such as Keith.
Surely the religious disorder brigade can club together and fund their own churches, without begging the taxpayer.
Poor, delicate bigots.
Suppose it is a sign of the times. Life has indeed got easier for gays and we no longer have to live on the fringes of society. I am not denying that we still have a long uphill struggle ahead of us but we seem to be over halfway up that mountain. As for Gay and Lesbian Switchboard being transfered to London, there will be nothing worse than it becoming an automated call centre where you have to listen to recorded messages, select options on your handset then get put on hold for ages before getting to speak to someone. How long will it be before it gets transfered to New Delhi?
I have to say, I find that article rather uplifting in the fact we really don’t need these things any more which demonstrates that there are less problems and LGBT people are becoming more accepted within society.
I guess there are always going to be certain gay-specific problems for which a group like this is there to help, but hopefully this sort of thing will diminish as time goes on. Nevertheless, I think it worth saying a big thank you to all those people past and present that have spent their free time helping others with this service.
Yes, heteros do get by fine without a hetero helpline. And if vile people like you didn’t exist, there would never have been any need for gay helplines either. From the name that you’ve given yourself it’s obvious that, whatever your chronological age, psychologically you’re still a child – and a rather disturbed one at that.
Things have got easier for a lot of people who are already confident in their sexuality. However, it can still be a very scary, lonely place for people who are discovering an alternative sexual orientation for the first time and if they are not lucky enough to live in a place with a visible gay presence or support network, it can still be as hard today as it has ever been. Regional helplines have a big part to play in this but keeping up with the times is important. I volunteer for a charity called Outline operating in Surrey and we continue to provide our helpline, email service and face to face support group (Outcrowd) in what are often difficult circumstances in terms of getting volunteers and funding. It is a shame that the article has represented the closure of BLAGS valuable service as a success story when, yes it is good that things are somewhat easier but doesn’t necessarily mean the service is not still needed. It is sad that these organisations find it so hard to operate.