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Confusion from a hotline

Discussion in 'Family, Friends and Relationships' started by roksy, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. roksy

    roksy Well-Known Member

    I have been contacting a suicide hotline for a while now and I have been becoming more comfortable about talking about some sexuality forums and gender identity forums I have been attending.

    So before I moved forward with the communication with this hotline I wanted to know their point of view about sexuality and gender identity. I didn't want to talk too much about it and then they would not be up to talking about it and I would get hurt.

    So I asked a few questions such as, have you worked with people of a different sexual orientation than you? Have you worked work with someone who is gender queer? Do you have any per-conceived notions that would prevent you from working with someone who is of a different sexual orientation or gender identity than you?

    I thought that these are simple questions that would make it easier for me to move forward with the help they are giving me.

    The answer was a little defensive on their part. They told me that they could not tell me about the details of other callers, that they are non-judgmental... etc. everything that was on their website.

    Why would someone who I have poured my heart out to respond with generic sentences without answering any of the questions? I am really confused by the email. So what about the questions? Why couldn't they answer any of them?

    I thought that the answers would build trust. I know that they are non-judgmental. Someone who could listen to my suicidal thoughts and still be able to help me is definitely non-judgmental but why wouldn't they answer these personal questions?

    I am so confused and really disheartened by the reply. I can't have barriers between us when it comes to these topics. How can I talk freely about them when they can't really answer simple questions about these topics?

    Has anyone faced such a problem? How did you react to these situations?

  2. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    I'm pretty certain they didn't answer your questions is because of confidentiality/privacy. Most hotlines want people to feel that their stories/issues will remain completely private.

    The good thing is that they are non-judgmental. They were probably interviewed and thoroughly screened to make sure they don't have attitudes or biases that could upset people contacting the hotline.

    Even if the individual responding to you had never dealt with the exact issues you mentioned, chances are the hotline has a database of all kinds of resources so the responders can look up the right agencies and local resources for people.

    I think if you call and talk to them, you'll find that it's not a barrier between you but just a confidentiality thing. Besides, if you don't like how the convo goes, you can say so. Good luck! Let us know how it goes. :smile:
  3. Moat

    Moat Banned Member

    I would assume that it might have been the way you asked the questions, that the person/people you asked might have taken it as though you were talking about other patients of theirs and not about yourself, which is one reason they got defensive about that subject, but then there is also the matter of privacy, as Acy said above as well as different countries having different laws that they have to adhere to, so there is no possibility of a lawsuit.
    Overall, I would like to venture that if gender sexuality is something that is not an issue to you, as in a part of the reason for whatever it is you have to deal with problematically, then I would think that it is better left leaving that subject alone. In an age where topics such as voodoo or the practice of lip disks or circumcisions or covering your entire body with tattoos as an expression of 'art' is widely regarded acceptable, I wonder why most people still think of sexual orientation as something of a taboo topic?
  4. roksy

    roksy Well-Known Member

    This hasn't been easy for me. If as you say Leif, that it is not such a big deal why not just say that it is not a big deal? Why go all through the trouble of repeating something online and not answer the question?

    What's wrong with asking if they had a problem with it? There is nothing wrong with clearing the air and saying it. All they did was avoided answering the questions. If they are so simple why dance around it and not answer it. There is something fishy. I am not saying that there is something fishy about the service or if they are non-judgmental or not but about the reaction? From a legal point of view there is nothing wrong with repeating that they have no problem with people of different sexual orientation or gender identity. They just answered with a sentence that didn't even address questions.

    Their answer was that the service is to support people through emotional times. What does this have to do with the question? Why dodge the question?
  5. pickwithaustin

    pickwithaustin Staff Alumni

    If you're in the U.S., then what you're probably facing is their need to not discuss any other situations, even remotely, due to HIPAA laws. The reply that they are non-judgmental pretty much covers the answer to your questions, in a nut shell. There are some very fine lines legally that people in their field have to be careful not to cross, even what seems trivial in that sense to those who are not subjected to potential legal scrutiny. That may also account for why you say they basically just repeated what was already on their website.

    Perhaps try another approach. Explain first what your situation is. Then, ask if your situation bothers them in any way that might affect their ability to interact fairly with you on things that involve that topic. In some cases, people may have their own individual barriers that may not reflect the business they are in as a whole. In those situations, they may refer you to another person in their organization who is more open to your particular situation/topic.
  6. roksy

    roksy Well-Known Member

    Hi pickwithuaustin,

    Thank you for your reply. Your second paragraph was exactly what I was aiming at. The person helping me is amazingly non-judgmental and I just wanted to know if there were any personal barriers for that person to help me. Just to describe the questions slightly, they were very personal and personal and I used "you" in them. They were not about the nature of the work at all. Out of the 5 questions they were all personal. Just as an example here are two of the questions: "Are you ok with people who have a different sexual orientation than you? How about different gender representation?"

    I am not asking about the nature of the work? I was asking about their personal beliefs. I don't want to impose and if that is someone off topic for the person I won't get close to the subject. But their answer was really vague and weird.

    I am not sure how else to phrase the sentences. I really wonder why they couldn't give a straight forward answer.
  7. Moat

    Moat Banned Member

    Please read my reply more closely and you will have your answers from me.
  8. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    roksy, I understand that you wanted an answer from the person you were talking to. It's too bad they couldn't be more personal. :sad:

    I do suspect that their response was one that the service tells them to give people because of privacy laws. However, if you were to call again, perhaps say that you're not asking them to tell you about other people they have spoken with - you understand about confidentiality - but you just wonder what their own experience or background in the subject is because you don't want him/her to feel uncomfortable.
  9. roksy

    roksy Well-Known Member

    Thanks Acy.
  10. roksy

    roksy Well-Known Member

    I am not sure why this hotline is not answering my questions. I tried explaining that the questions was simply to ask if the individuals have any barriers to work with me and I explained that it was tough for me that they were not addressing the questions. All they did was send me a generic answer again asking me questions not related and not willing to answer any of the questions asked. Why do they feel that it is ok for them to ask personal questions of me and when I want to talk about something personal they close the door on that discussion? Isn't this a two way stream? Are these people hiding something?

    I am feeling really discouraged and they really helped me through a phase where I was really feeling down but if there is so much prejudice in the service how can I be frank with them? I am not sure if they are really non-judgmental. When I ask questions back they can't answer me?