SSE Airtricity is privileged to have Adam from the National LGBT+ Helpline Community share his story
"My name is Adam and I’m from Donegal.
I first realised I was different when I was in my teens, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was different. One thing I knew was that the LGBT Community was something I could I identify with.
There was no community in Donegal when I was younger, but I was lucky I did know one or two people later in my teens who were in the same or similar position to me. There was no LGBT Community to speak of and even if there was a community, getting to it from where I lived which is very remote would have been difficult anyway. There were no resources, nothing available in schools or anything like that.
It took me a little bit of time and a little bit of courage, but I made the decision to contact the helpline to try and reach out to see if I could get some resource to just talk to somebody else who might understand the position, I was in. Trying to make a phone call for me wasn’t easy because I lived with my parents and our phone was in a very public area. It was difficult to get space, but I had an opportunity one evening to make the phone call and it was one of those moments where I was going, I don’t know when I’m going to get this opportunity again.
I remember there was a huge thunderstorm and I managed to get the opportunity to go into a phone booth and phone the helpline from there with the thunderstorm in the background, which was all very dramatic, which added an exhilaration to it. It was an exhilarating feeling to finally speak to someone, but it was also very scary waiting for the phone to ring and wondering who you’re going to speak to when they pick up. Then you speak to somebody who’s just another person who wants to listen to you, help you and be there for you and they don’t even know you, which is just such a nice feeling.
Initially I rang with the idea of asking them where I could get a copy of the GCN (Gay Community News) because I just wanted an excuse or a reason to ring. When I rang and asked them, they gave me the name of several different outlets in Dublin because I was going to be in Dublin with my parents and I reasonably expected I’d be able to slip away for a few minutes and pick one up. They provided me all the information and then I asked them a little bit more about it because it was coming up to time for me to pick universities. I asked them a little bit more about where I could find information on universities and other resources in Dublin for kind of, I suppose to just know there was a future out there and that there was somewhere I could look forward to going. But untimely what really ended up happening was, we ended up having a chat and the person just kind of encouraged me to talk for a little while and I just felt less lonely because as I say, I very much rang thinking I don’t really know why I’m ringing.
The reason I was ringing was very much I wated a connection, but I didn’t feel like I could just ring as I thought I had to have a reason. But the thing is you don’t have to have a reason, beyond wanting a connection. That’s exactly what a helpline is there for and the person I spoke to was really good at encouraging me to just chat and let my guard down a little bit and relax, knowing that I could have that conversation, to feel like you know not only was there something that I could look forward to but there was also people there right now if I did need them. There was a way I could contact them.
If someone is thinking of calling the helpline, what I would say to them is do it when you feel like you are safe to do so. Take that moment, give yourself that chance and call the helpline to talk. If you need to have a reason, think of something like where can I get GCN, but honestly you can just ring the helpline and say, Hi, I’d just like to talk. I just want someone to talk to about how I feel right now. Ringing the helpline doesn’t mean you are LGBT+, it doesn’t mean you have to pick a label and put it on yourself. It just means you get to talk to somebody else who has at some point, or another been where you are and that’s just really reassuring."
SSE Airtricity are privileged to have Tara, Tom and Adam, who’ve used the LGBT Helpline, share their stories with us. Listen to all three podcasts here.
LGBT Ireland provides vital support to communities all around Ireland, including family members and friends who are seeking help and information to support their LGBT+ loved ones. The LGBT Helpline is a confidential, safe space to ask questions, seek advice, and simply be your true, whole self.
You can contact the LGBT+ Helpline by freephone 1800 929 539. For more information, please visit LGBT.ie.