Many homosexuals and their family members show signs of having
serious psychological problems and deserve more attention from
society, according to staff members at a Guangzhou-based free
hotline for homosexuals.
Since its launch a year ago, the hotline has received calls from
2,336 homosexuals for consultations on psychological problems,
legal issues and HIV/AIDS. The hotline is operated by the Chi Heng
Foundation, a Hong Kong-based charitable organization.
"Consultations on psychological problems account for about 56
percent of all the calls in the past year. Twenty-six percent of
the calls were about legal issues, and 15 percent were about
HIV/AIDS," said a volunteer at the hotline who identified himself
as Xiao Shen.
All of the roughly 20 volunteers who work for the hotline are
gay. When they are not volunteering, they are doctors, teachers,
actors, businessmen, students and government officials.
Among the most prevalent psychological problems afflicting
homosexuals are inferiority complexes, marriage pressure,
suicide-orientated depression and AIDS-phobia.
"Many of them call us repeatedly, asking everything they can
think of about AIDS despite the fact that they have tested negative
for HIV," said Xiao Shen.
"The psychological problems their family members suffer from
deserve equal attention from society, if not more," he said. "More
often than not, they have no access to professional advice."
"You can imagine how shocked they are when they learn that a
member of their family is homosexual," he said.
By way of an example, he said he once received a call from the
wife of a gay man. The woman said she was so desperate about the
situation that she was thinking about killing her husband.
Wang Ye, a doctor with the Guangdong provincial disease control
and prevention center's AIDS research institute, spoke highly of
"The hotline not only helps ease some of the psychological
pressure that many homosexuals face thereby nipping more tragedies
in the bud but it also plays an important role in promoting
anti-AIDS campaigns among homosexuals. It actually outperforms some
governmental organizations in this regard," Wang said.
The doctor said his research institute also carried out
anti-AIDS work with two other Guangzhou-based organizations
exclusively for homosexuals a website and a club.
(China Daily May 9, 2007)