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Gay support in rural areas
Irish Examiner 23/02/2005

by Noel Baker

Priests and local politicians are among those who will receive new information leaflets aimed at providing support for gay people living in rural areas.

The Cork Gay Project is to send out 20,000 multilingual leaflets across Munster in mid-March as part of its new campaign. Doctors, counsellors, local development projects and school boards will also receive the leaflets, which will carry information on the organisation's helpline and other services.

The leaflet will be translated into Irish and Polish and will be dispersed initially in Counties cork, Kerry and Tipperary. The leaflet drop will be followed by an extensive poster campaign. The support group revealed many gay people living in rural areas are living "half lives".

Community development officer for the Cork Gay Project, Dave Roche, said that rural areas, particularly in Munster, were losing out because young talented gay people felt compelled to move to urban areas because of their sexuality.

According to the Irish Examiner/Red C opinion poll published this week, almost one-in-four Munster residents stated their belief that homosexuality was wrong, compared with the national figure of one-in-six. "All the evidence suggests that gay people in rural areas can turn to drink and drugs and are prone to bullying or even blackmail, for money or possible even sexual favours," said Mr Roche. For information you can visit www.gayhealthproject.com and www.gayprojectcork.com The helpline number is 021 4271087