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Providing an essential community service since 1979, the Dublin Lesbian Line have been tireless in their support of those who need it. Peter Dunne speaks to the people behind the line that is not just for Dublin, and not just for lesbians.

“We want to be inclusive of all female identified people, to make sure trans women feel included, for non binary that prefer female spaces, sometimes that includes people that have female bodies who don’t necessarily identify as female but who might need access to female services, like sexual health. So our purpose is to provide support for the community in whatever way that they want.” So says the coordinator of Dublin Lesbian Line, Laura Louise Condell. Because of the need for confidentiality the names of the volunteers who answer the phones will be changed for this article.

The DLL started in 1974 as part of Tel-A-Friend, which is the second oldest LGBT helpline in the world. Around the time of the beginning of the HIV crisis, Tel-A-Friend split into the Dublin Lesbian Line and Gay Switchboard in order to best deal with the needs of the community. It was a different time back then, as Condell details: “Back in the day lots of people didn’t have house phones or didn’t want us calling their house so they would ring and leave a message on an answering machine and say they would be at a phone box at a certain time and the volunteer would call them. Because of that history, DLL have a policy to offer to call people back.”

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About GCN

We’re closing our 30th anniversary celebrations with a bang, celebrating the year of the activist. With that in mind, we arranged for community leaders to speak to the next generation of trailblazers as both sides share their experiences. A Brazilian writer living in Ireland takes a look at his home country following the election of Bolsonaro, while Marty St Clair, one of the scientists behind the discovery of AZT, speaks about the beginnings of the battle against HIV and AIDS. Frank McDonald stops by to talk about his recently released memoirs. There’s an essential look at mental health in the queer community, and the people behind the awesome Dublin Lesbian Line tell us their plans for the future. You can also expect a roundup of a momentous year for LGBTQI+ folk and your community magazine. We couldn’t have done it without you, dear readers!