What do you do?
We provide free, confidential, and identity-affirming emotional support, resources, and referrals - For the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community, by the community.
What do you mean by peer support?
By peer support, we mean the identity-affirming, relational support that only peers who share similar experiences or identities are able to provide. The source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: they have "been there, done that" and can relate to others who are in a similar situation.
What does the name "SQSH" mean?
"SQSH" stands for St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline. With the name "SQSH," we hope to convey the feeling of a hug to you, and subtly reference "squish" - the aromantic / asexual term for queer-platonic relationships. However, we acknowledge that the word "queer" can be a pejorative term for many members of our community, especially older adults, and a term that is filled with a history of hatred and pain. That history and experience is so valid. As such, we also commonly refer to our resource as simply, "the Helpline," and we welcome you to use whichever term you prefer.
Is your Helpline mindful of the needs of QTPOC (Queer & Trans People of Color)?
We know that the members of our community who face the most marginalization and least support are those of us holding multiple oppressed identities. We aim to be an intersectional resource; our volunteers strive to affirm, recognize and uplift all members of our community, especially QTPOC (queer and trans people of color), low-income, disabled, intersex, asexual / aromantic, non-binary folx and others who don't usually feel seen. Our logo intentionally includes not only rainbow colors, but also the colors of the trans flag (light blue, pink, white), and the colors of the QPOC-inclusive Pride Flag (brown, black). That being said, we always have a long way to go to undo the internalized oppression that we as volunteers have as members of this society. If you have any feedback at any point about the inclusiveness or effectiveness of our Helpline, we are always open to hearing it.
What should I do if I know someone working on the Helpline and I don’t want to talk to them?
There will always be two helpline volunteers working at the same time. If you call and know the volunteer who answers, you can always ask to talk to the other volunteer on shift. We prioritize your comfort level and would be happy to make the switch.
If I don’t identify as LGBTQIA+ or queer, can I still call?
Yes! Anyone of any sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression can call.
Where is the Helpline located?
The Helpline is housed at a confidential location in order to protect the safety and privacy of our volunteers and callers. We thank you for understanding our unique needs as a LGBTQIA-specific helpline.
How is the Helpline funded?
We started this project in 2019 using an initial $5,000 Civic Scholars grant from Washington University's Gephardt Institute for Civic & Community Engagement. Since then, we have been supported by the following major funding streams:
- $2,500 Mini Grant from St. Louis Violence Prevention Commission
- $1,900 from Facebook Fundraiser
- $400 from Benefit Show by C U Next Tuesday
Going forward, we hope to sustain this project through local donations and grants. We spend our funds on training, printing resource manuals, food for volunteers, and liability insurance. We aim to publish quarterly or biannual expense reports to be fully transparent with how we spend our money.
Our HelplineToll Free | 844-785-SQSH (7774) Local | 314-380-SQSH (7774)
Our Hours Friday - Sunday 1 PM-5 PM
We connect the LGBTQIA+ community in Greater St. Louis with peer-support services, including a volunteer-run phone helpline, public resource manual, and resources for the queer+ community and their allies.