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LGBT support service records busiest year

The gay marriage referendum sparked an influx of calls to a support service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as it recorded its busiest year.

LGBT Helpline said almos t 77,000 people accessed information and support through its phone and online services last year, with demand highest in the week leading up to the equality vote last May.

Paula Fagan, national coordinator for the service, said major law reforms on same sex parenting rights, gender recognition and employment equality were important but the emotive marriage equality campaign was felt most deeply.

“While the outcome of the referendum was incredibly positive, the time leading up to the vote was very stressful for LGBT people and their families and friends,” she said.

“As the nation debated the referendum, many LGBT people sought support from our services to cope with the intensity of having their lives debated in public, or to deal with negative attitudes expressed by family members or friends.”

LGBT Helpline said traffic to its website increased by 65% in the week leading up to the vote compared to the same week in the previous year.

The group’s report revealed just over half the people seeking help or advice were aged between 36 and 55, and more than two thirds of the callers were aged over 36.

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The vast majority of contacts were in connection with s exuality or coming out or f amily and relationship problems, with most people seeking information on LGBT-friendly counsellors and psychotherapists.

Some 4% of calls related to violence, including homophobic and transphobic bullying and abuse.

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