One of Britain's longest-running queer charities has announced
it could soon close due to lack of funding, DIVA can report.
Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard, which has helped the Sussex
gay and trans community since 1975, says it has experienced a
combination of rising costs and fewer funding opportunities.
Switchboard currently needs to raise £20,000 between now and April
2012 to avoid closure.
The charity's website indicates that its twin operations, a
telephone helpline and face to face counselling service, help more
than 1000 people per year.
Natalie Woods, Switchboard's Services and Development Manger, said
that gay and trans organisations are rarely top on the list of
people's favourite charities to support.
In a statement issued on the organisation's website, Woods urged
for greater support from the queer community:
"We really need LGBT individuals to choose us as their charity to
donate regularly to. If LGBT people don't support us, who
A counsellor for Switchboard, who wished to remain anonymous, said
that closure would mean the loss of the South East's only dedicated
queer counselling service outside of London.
She told DIVA: "Even in current times, and in a relatively
tolerant place like Brighton and Hove, there can still be
homophobic and transphobic responses to coming out, to same sex and
trans relationships. Clients value the LGB and T affirmative stance
that the service takes - this means that clients are not
pathologised for their gender or sexuality. It is accepted that the
pathology lies in the discriminating society we all live in."
She added: "On top of this people with mental health problems are
already stigmatised - therefore an accepting and dedicated service
can work to prevent a double dose of stigma. Genuine acceptance for
who they are is something many Switchboard clients have not
experienced a lot of in their lives, and even in 12 weeks such a
service can go some way to helping LGBT people feel better about
For more information, and to donate, visit: switchboard.org.uk