Dublin Lesbian Line and Switchboard relaunch vital helpline for women and non-binary folk

After a three year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dublin Lesbian Line has teamed up with The Switchboard to reopen its helpline.

Dublin Lesbian Line and The Switchboard launch 'Women's Night' phone service. The image shows a female presenting person using a mobile phone. She is wearing a yellow jumper and is holding the phone to her ear. She has long brown hair and the image is cropped from her nose to chest.
Image: Branislav Nenin via Shutterstock

Dublin Lesbian Line (DLL) has announced that it will be reopening its vital helpline in a groundbreaking partnership with sibling service, The Switchboard.

The new “Women’s Night” will run weekly on Tuesday evenings from 6:30pm to 9pm and will offer support to all female, non-binary and female-aligned people in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Although DLL and The Switchboard both share their roots in Ireland’s first LGBTQ+ helpline, Tel-A-Friend, which commenced its services in 1974, DLL later went on to establish itself as an independent volunteer collective in 1979, providing a dedicated service for lesbian and bisexual women.

It quickly became a cornerstone of the lesbian community, spawning lesbian lines across the country in Cork, Belfast, Galway, Derry and Sligo.

With over four decades of experience, Dublin Lesbian Line has remained a steadfast pillar of assistance and empowerment not just for Dublin but for the queer community across Ireland.

In 2020, DLL was forced to temporarily close its helpline service due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a significant loss of trained phone volunteers.

During that time, it remained active by hosting online community events and later in-person gatherings, however, as the restrictions eased, the organisation faced the daunting task of rebuilding its helpline services with limited trained volunteers.


The opportunity to collaborate with The Switchboard arose through Gillian McInerney, the current Chairperson of The Switchboard and a board member with DLL. 

Gillian initially started as a phone volunteer with DLL but later moved to The Switchboard when the need for more women and non-binary volunteers arose. 

Describing what the partnership means to both organisations, Gillian said, “The two organizations have a common origin and work under the same guiding principles of active listening, non-judgment, and confidentiality. 

“A collaboration was a clear win for both organizations; The Switchboard strengthens its 7-day service, and Dublin Lesbian Line gets the resources to train new helpline volunteers and return to providing support as it has done for over forty years.”



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Chairperson for Dublin Lesbian Line, Mary Hayes, also warmly welcome the partnership saying, “During COVID-19 we had some tough decisions to make including a temporary pause of our helpline. 

“Our helpline has been an integral part of our history and identity, so the decision to pause it left us uncertain about the future. We were unsure when we could gather the necessary resources to resume our vital services.” 

She continued, “Recognizing the immense significance of providing a dedicated space for women, non-binary, and female-aligned members of our community to find support, we knew it was essential to find a way forward. 

“The unwavering support of The Switchboard made this partnership possible, a remarkable testament to the strength of the queer community, coming together to share resources, insights, and expertise, and to carry forward this invaluable legacy.”

Both DLL and The Switchboard will be recruiting and training new helpline volunteers this Autumn. They are encouraging people from all backgrounds to apply. 

Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the opportunities can email [email protected].

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