LGBTI people now have an online advisory centre

The centre is expected to help them find more information and help to solve their problems.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people (LGBTI) can now visit a place that offers them support along with social, psychological and legal advice in fields related to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

This is possible thanks to the online inPoradňa advisory centre, launched by the Initiative Inakosť (Otherness). It provides help mostly in online form and by phone, but also in person by agreement.

Up to the end of 2018, there was no specialised advisory service that would offer the LGBTI community help and support with their problems. The public institutions and services offered by generally focused consulting non-governmental organisations often do not have enough information and experience to help solve the problems of LGBTI people. Moreover, they often lack their trust, which was confirmed by a survey carried out by the Initiative Inakosť in 2017.

Read also:The biggest survey showed the lives of LGBT people Read more 

This suggested that 49.6 percent of respondents (or 1,035 people) had had a bad experience such as harassment, offensive language and violence, when others learned that they belong to the LGBTI community. As many as 93.9 percent of them did not report it to any institution, the Initiative Inakosť wrote in a press release.

Problems with seeking help

Moreover, 23 percent of respondents (479) sought help because they belong to LGBTI. Of them, 51.5 percent (247) looked for help when they came out, which is a situation that can be very difficult for LGBTI people. In addition, 23.6 percent (113) sought help due to problems with partnerships, 23.1 percent (111) needed help due to problems with discrimination and 11.3 percent experienced harassment.

This means that they mostly sought legal help in understanding the legislation and to identify the possibilities to solve these situations, according to the press release.

The survey also suggests that 20.6 percent of respondents needed help, but did not seek it. As many as 43.7 percent did not know whom to address. One of the reasons for this could be that psychologists often do not say that they specialise in such clients. Neither do schools offer such information.

Read also:First Slovak LGBTI activist has fought for 40 years Read more 

“As a result, we searched intensively for funds to open the advisory centre for LGBTI people in 2018, and we’re glad that we managed to do it thanks to the support of the Justice Ministry and the European Social Fund,” said Martin Macko, head of the Initiative Inakosť, as quoted in the press release.

The centre can help LGBTI people to analyse their situation, offer specific information on solving their problems and agree on further steps. They can also offer contacts to relevant bodies responsible for solving their situation, explained psychologist Andrej Kuruc.

“Advice is provided without any evaluation or prejudice and backed with an understanding of the affairs that concern the life of LGBTI people,” Kuruc added. “We can help them in situations where they are stressed and sad, or feel discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

During the first weeks of its operation, 55 clients have turned to inPoradňa, said Christián Havlíček, who is responsible for social advice.

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