PHONE COUNSELORS NEEDED
This message is for people who would like to do telephone counselling at Gay Community Services. I want: to
encourage you to volunteer as a phone counselor and to
discover all over again how good it feels to help someone else. We all have a need to be of service to our
fellow human beings. Gay people and some straights,
most of whom you will never meet face-to-face, call GCS
daily at U77-6699a seeking advice, help, or encouragement .
Let yourself experience the joy of being helpful to
a stranger. Help strengthen the gay community in the
Austin area. Feel the excitement of entering the world
of someone just coming out, or of encountering some new,
colorful sister or gay brother,
Troy Stokes does his part by recording the taped GCS
message which answers the hot line number when a counselor is not on duty. The University Y does its part by
providing rent-free office space for the gay counseling
center. Frank, Larry, Michael, and David do their part
by staffing the phones Tuesday through Friday evenings.
Would you like to do your part? We have telephone
shifts open on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights from
6 to 10 pm. We make referrals to bars, bookstores, gay
groups, baths, churches; and to doctors, counselors,
and lawyers. We listen to people who need someone to
whom they can talk anonymously'over the phone. We share
our life experiences and observations with people who
feel lonely or who feel frightened of gayness—their
own or ours.
In short, we often help people put the pieces together again and find solutions in a fragmented, estranged
OUT OF TOWN, OUT OF STATE
•If- you'.ve ever visited-a new city alone, you can
appreciate the graciousness and convenience of having a
free gayline that you can call to ask where the bars
and baths are. Austin offers that service to visiting
lesbians and gays, thanks to Troy, Frank, Larry, David,
Michael, Wayde, and the other volunteers from the gay
community who work to provide this referral service.
Recently, I received a call at GCS from a young man in
a downtown hotel who was visiting Austin for a week. He
wanted to know where he could meet other guys like himself. He was here from Guatemala. J\. couple of months
ago I took a call from a lesbian and her lover visiting
here from Venice, California. They asked if we have any
womens' bars in Austin, and they were delighted when I
told them yes, we do, and referred them to the Hollywood.
People can find our phone number easily because "Gay"
is our first name. Lots and lots of Austin area teenagers, most of them gay, call GCS just to have another
gay person to talk to. They don't even have to know any
other gay "people to find help from Gay Community Services. All they have to do is look in the "G" section
of their phone book. Many of you Connections readers
came out through Gay Community Services. And for those
of us who did not have a gay hotline to call when we
were coming out, think how much easier for us it would
have been if there had been one! What a shame and a
waste it would be if Austin decided to allow the GCS
hotline to go down the toilet out of sheer neglect.
Yes, Gay Community Services has been, and continues
to be, a great name. We've been offering our phone
counselling service for Ms years. And yet, we are actually hurting for volunteer phone counselors right now.
You can help us to continue to provide gay hotline
services for the Austin area. Your help is urgently
needed. Now. You can be a part of the helping hand we
give others by volunteering to be a GCS phone counselor-
Lonely, closeted people just learning to deal with
their gayness need you. Gay teenagers need your attention .and encouragement. Out-of=town visitors need
directions and information about the local scene. People
who want to learn about gayness or who want to find out
other ways to meet people, need you.
Help make our volunteer phone counselling center more
of a solid success, instead of being a marginally effective outfit, open little more than half the nights of
THE BATTLE GOES ON
You see, Gay Community Services is one of those
things that everybody is glad to know we have in our
city, but that hardly anyone is going to lift a finger
to help with. We're glad GCS is there-, knowing it's
there makes us feel warmer and more secure. GCS is like
the Salvation Army. We feel good, knowing the Salvation
Army is there, caring for needy people, but we ourselves
aren't about to get involved and actually give our time
and energy to assist with the work of the Salvation Army.
Well, folks, we Austin lesbians and gays have our own
self-help community service agency, and it's called Gay
Community Services. And unless some more of us do involve ourselves with our community agency, that warm,
contented feeling of knowing it's there, may disappear,
because Gay Community Services might well go down the
SPEAKING OF HOMOPHOBIA
We GCS activists fought the straight men of the
University Y Executive Board to get to keep our large
green GCS sign in place above the Sommers Rexall Drug
sign at 2330 Guadalupe. We won that battle; the women
and a few others outvoted the men of the Joint Executive
Committee in late September, 1979- The GCS sign stays
where it is, instead of being removed, as the men of the
Executive Committee had ordered. Now we GCS people face
the dilemma of having only a little over half of our
phone shifts filled. Our leaders are frazzled and discouraged. Won't you help us?
Think about giving one evening of your time each
week to be a GCS telephone counselor. We especially
need lesbian and third-world gay phone counselors. All
we have are gay white males! Help us fill those empty
phone shifts and those vacancies that always occur a-
round Chiistmas and New Years. Call the GCS office
coordinator, Wayde Frey, at kr(h-X660. Wayde will discuss being a phone counselor with you, introduce you
to the peer counselor's job, show you the office layout, go through the referral files with you, and help
you get started as a GCS volunteer.
The added Irony here is that I am imploring people
to do something that is so enjoyable, once you've done
it! The GCS phone counselor experience can be a thrilling, rewarding way to spend an evening. People need
you, and you can help give them the reassurance or
information they need. Sometimes the phone doesn't
ring for a long while, and sometimes there are lots of
prank calls. But more and'more lately, it's serious
gay callers who call us up. They won't have anybody to
help them on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday nights unless
you lesbian and gay Connections readers volunteer to
be there when they call.
Anybody out there still reading this? Anybody out
there going to respond to this article by volunteering?
I'm waiting to hear from you.
CONNECTIONS December 1979/January 1980 5