The hotline for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals and their parents has been in operating for two years now in Moscow. The service, which was organized by the Educational Center "Together" ("Ya+Ya"), began taking calls on July 1, 2004. Since that time, volunteers of the phone line have heard out stories of several thousand callers who phone daily from various regions throughout Russia and even as far as neighboring foreign countries.
Psychologist Olga Kovaleva consults a "Ya+Ya" hotline caller
Psychologist Olga Kovaleva (pictured) trains the consultants of the hotline using programs developed from experience obtained from researched in other countries. "In the last year, we have been able to establish contacts with foreign colleagues, in particular with an LGBT Center in Sacramento, California, USA," explains Olga. "At the beginning there were several informal interactions. We then began exchanging methodological literature. And, finally, not long ago, we initiated a seminar with Sharon Horn, a professor from the University of Memphis (USA), who discussed issues of homosexual identity formulation, internalized homophobia, the specific nature of same-sex relationships and therapy during crises caused by discrimination and violence. Psychologists who practice with LGBT population and volunteers of the hotline attended the seminar."
"In 2004, when we undertook creating the hotline for LGBT, we had almost no experience with this sort of thing," describes the head of the center "Together" and editor-in-chief of the gay magazine "Kvir" (Queer), Ed Mishin. "But in the last two years we have gained experience and a large number of contacts with similar services, including some in foreign countries. The work of the hotline became more intense and progressed to a good professional level when Psychologist Olga Kovaleva took it under her wing. I'm happy that today the hotline at "Together" has a backbone of trained consultants ..."
To speak with a consultant about anything that is worrying you, dial (495) 783-8333. Consultants of the Psychological Support Hotline are ready to listen to you Monday through Friday from 2:00 PM until 10:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM (the call is free, long distance rates to Moscow may apply).
Pictured: Psychologist Olga Kovaleva consults a "Ya+Ya" hotline caller.
Translation by Timofey Grishin