May 16, 2024

Over the last two weeks we had meetings with various LGBTQ+ NGOs across Turkey to get their advice and enlist their support for our project. SPoD, UniKuir, and Lubunya Deprem Dayanışması (LGBT Earthquake Solidarity) all provided invaluable guidance for our project.

We have now started working on “mapping” the subject areas the hotline will provide service to. This will help us design the training program, but it will also allow us to organize what bakad can provide in terms of further resources, options for advanced paid/unpaid assistance, and transform all this information to posters, pamphlets, and online resources for the LGBTQ+ community in the region. While these areas may change once we open the hotline, there are currently seven:

  1. Individual rights within Turkish Criminal Procedure Law
  2. Right to Housing, related laws and practices in Turkey
  3. Psycho-social Assistance and Mental Health Resources
  4. Gender Reassignment Therapy resources
  5. Information on Turkish Compulsory Military Service
  6. HIV prevention and medication interactions
  7. Resources on dealing with Substance Abuse

We already know that there will be questions on temporary housing, but this will be one of the areas we do not envision being able to assist people, considering there are no local resources. We might add this as an eighth category in the future. We were told that enlisting the help of professional social workers with experience in the region would be useful in this “mapping” so we will start exploring our options for paid or volunteer assistance in this regard as well.

We contacted and interviewed various lawyers and psychologists to provide the volunteer trainings, and we reached agreements with one or two individuals from each profession. The format of the training and the exact dates/hours will be determined with our trainers, but based on our conversations with SPoD, who have a similar hotline based in Istanbul, we expect to have 10 three-hour sessions. This will be followed by two internship sessions, in which the trainees will answer the phones in groups. Plus, we will have monthly check-in meetings with our volunteers, to make sure providing this service does not adversely affect them, to re-think our personal boundaries, and our own emotional well-being.

We are working on our advertisements to circulate the news and hopefully our form to recruit volunteers will be live soon!

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