LGBTI advisory centre deals with increasing number of discrimination cases

The inPoradňa advisory centre is most commonly used by people aged 17-35.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo(Source: Sme)

The LGBTI community turns to the inPoradňa advisory centre mostly due to discrimination. They witness it mostly in health care, employment and education, said social worker Christián Havlíček in an interview with the SITA newswire.

The advisory centre was established in November 2018 by the Initiative Inakosť organisation. The interest in getting advice is higher than they originally expected.

“Altogether 157 people turned to us in the first nine months,” Havlíček said, as quoted by SITA. This equals about 17 people a month, while the original capacities were set to eight people a month. “We’re thus searching for further sources of finances to cover this interest.”

They mostly deal with people aged 17-35 years, but also people around 60 years of age.

What do LGBTI people ask about?

The inPoradňa centre offers support, as well as social, psychological and legal counselling for LGBTI people in areas linked to their sexual orientation and gender identity.

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About 35 percent of people are seeking answers to the questions linked to gender identity, while 65 percent of people seek advice related to their sexual orientation, Havlíček told SITA.

As for legal counselling, the centre mostly deals with various situations of same-sex couples, while transgender people search for information about the gender change process. This includes more detailed information about the process, where to find medical treatment and which conditions they need to meet to change their birth number.

“In psychological counselling, we deal with clients who suffer from anxiety, depression and trauma, who have some negative experiences, like bullying or violence, linked to their sexual orientation and gender identity,” Havlíček told SITA.

At the same time, the advisory centre helps people who are asking about coming out, including how to tell their family, how to overcome their fear and how to be safe, he added.

Personal meetings, phone or online help

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The advisory centre offers help via an online platform or by phone, but also offers people the chance to meet with the workers in person.

“Many people take advantage of this service, especially those from Bratislava or Bratislava Region,” Havlíček said, as quoted by SITA.

For people living in eastern Slovakia, there is the Community and Advisory Centre Prizma, which offers similar services, he added.

A personal meeting has its advantages and can be more efficient than speaking online or by phone.

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