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India: Lesbian helpline reveals most calls are from curious men

Nick Duffy February 4, 2015

India’s first dedicated helpline for lesbians has revealed that most of the calls it receives are actually from curious men.

The Lesbian Helpline in Tamil Nadu – which is run by Indian Community Welfare Organisation and manned by lesbian volunteers – was intended to help LGBT women in the country who are struggling with their sexuality.

However, the charity set up in 2009 has revealed that the vast majority of the calls it recieves are actually from men, who are full of questions about lesbianism.

24-year-old Aksam – who volunteers for the helpline – said that the men sometimes even try and get the phone numbers of lesbians.

She told the Times of India: “Some men call up and say they have a sister or wife or a relative who is attracted to women. Finally, they ask for contact numbers of lesbians.

“When we ask them to pass the phone to the woman, they refuse. A few men ask questions like how women are attracted to other women and how it is to be in a relationship.”

Volunteer Uma Priyadarshini  – who previously sought help herself from the charity herself – added that when the helpline does do a lot of good as well.

She said: “There have been calls where women reveal suicidal thoughts because they were forced into marriage. College students too call us saying they are feeling too possessive about their girlfriends and would want to know if it is normal.

“Many women don’t like to reveal their identity.

“Of course, many calls are from men, who ask if they can join us in manning the helpline.”

Homosexuality is technically illegal in India, after the country’s Supreme Court reinstated its colonial-era sodomy law.

There is also a strong cultural taboo about homosexuality and lesbian in some parts of India.

More: Asia, call, Gay, help, helpline, India, India, lesbian, Men, phone, suicide

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