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China launches lesbian help-line

PinkNews Staff Writer November 22, 2006

China has opened its first help line offering counselling for lesbians.

The service, funded by the Chi Heng Foundation, will offer counselling and advice from a ream of 10 volunteers.

It echoes a similar service set up earlier this year which was staffed by men, but this scheme shows a growing awareness of lesbian issues in the traditionally conservative country.

The Chi Heng Foundation’s Rager Sheng told the Associated Press: “Lesbians would feel uncomfortable talking with men about their private issues, so we just wanted to have a try at setting up a fixed period of time exclusively for women.

“Our society pays much less attention to lesbians because they are not the high-risk population for AIDS. But they do have a lot of psychological problems.

The Shanghai based help-line opens this weekend.

Although homosexuality in China is no longer considered a mental illness, it is still considered a taboo issue.

Recently sociologists have called for the country to support gay marriage arguing it would promote stable relationships and safe sex that could help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

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