Lesbian Lines Reconnected seeks past volunteers for focus groups

Lesbian lines Reconnected is an oral archive and research project to record lesbian and queer Irish history.

An image of Dublin Lesbian Line volunteers holding a pink banner with Dublin Lesbian Line written on it.
Image: Image via Lesbian Lines Facebook

The Lesbian Lines Reconnected Project is an oral archive and research project to record lesbian and queer history in Ireland supported by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

What is the Lesbian Line? Dublin Lesbian Line is a confidential support helpline, operated by a group of incredible female-identifying LGBTQ+ volunteers on Thursday nights from 6.30 pm until 9 pm. They are dedicated to providing telephone support and online support to the LGBTQ+ community. 

The project is inviting any current/past volunteers and callers to take part in our informal focus groups to remember and celebrate this powerful work of resilience and courage.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the legacy of the Lesbian Lines which has been a lifeline for lesbian and LGBTQ+ identified women across Ireland for over 40 years. 

The focus groups will connect the work done by volunteers and founding members with present and future LGBTQ+ generations.

GCN spoke with project lead Cara Holmes who has been researching the inspiring work of Lesbian Lines for over two years now. The inspiration came about when she attended and filmed the 40 year anniversary of the support line in 2019. 

“I really felt that lesbian and queer women’s history and all queer history was kind of forgotten about, or not really explored in much detail. So that was the initial motivation.” 

Speaking about her research, she explains: “I’m interested to know, have callers changed or have the calls changed themselves, and I think they have, but I think some have remained the same for obvious reasons”

Holmes further explains what she hopes to discuss at the Lesbian Lines focus groups, “I do want this to be quite informal and have people sitting around a table and that kind of thing. It’d be more conversational than anyone needing to kind of stand up and make a speech or anything, you know, it’s really just to come together and establish the key facts such as why Lesbian Lines was set up, who set it up and where there are issues in setting it up.”

“This project is a celebration of these helplines and the people who stood up, held the space for others to just be. The space between listener and caller, the space to be heard.”

This intergenerational project aims to highlight the work that has been done by the support line but also how younger members of the LGBTQ+ community can benefit from this knowledge and experience. 

Younger generations of lesbian/LGBTQ+ women do not know about the existence of the lesbian lines around Ireland and from doing research we know they are hungry to know more about their history.  This project identifies a gap in the knowledge of LGBTQ+ histories and will endeavour to rectify this.

There will be 4 sessions in May;

Dublin – May 7th – Outhouse, Capel Street (12 pm – 2 pm)

Belfast – May 8th LGBT Centre Belfast, 23 – 31 Waring Street bt1 2dx Belfast City (12 pm – 2 pm)

Cork – May 14th, Civic Trust House, 50 Popes Quay, Shandon, Cork, T23 R6XC Cork City (12 pm – 2 pm)

Galway – May 15th, Nuns Island Theatre, Galway City (12 pm – 2 pm)

You can register for the sessions online here.

If you have any questions about Lesbian Lines reconnected and the focus group please email Cara Holmes or Hannah Kelly at [email protected]

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