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ICWO sets up helpline for lesbians

Feb 06, 2009 12:27 AM IST India India

Chennai: When Jennifer (name changed) was 13-year-old she realised that she was attracted to women and since she had many partners. Five years ago when her girl friend’s parents started looking out for a groom for her they decided to live together. However, later Jennifer was beaten up and her partner was taken away. But now for 27-year-old Jennifer and others like her, help is at hand. A helpline has been set up by Indian Community Welfare Organisation (ICWO). It is a Chennai-based voluntary organization where someone will listen to their woes and support them. “At present we want to provide them livelihood opportunity and address indifferent behaviour because of their sexual orientation at their work place and provide counseling services,” says Founder Secretary, A J Hariharan. Even days before its launch, this helpline is flooded with calls from women seeking professional counseling for their issues. And for the first time, many women have even come out in the open about their sexuality and have volunteered to work as counselors with the helpline. For women like Jennifer-this means a new ray of hope. “I am sure by the end of next year, I can create a forum with atleast 15 such couples like me,” says Jennifer.

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