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  • Becca W.

Domestic Violence in the LGBTQ Community

Each June, we celebrate LGBTQ Pride month to uplift the community, remember how far we've come and recognize how much more work there is to be done. Rates of domestic violence in the LGBTQ community are similar to rates of abuse in heterosexual relationships. Abusers use the same tactics of power and control, regardless of sexual orientation. However, there are some unique ways abuse can show up in LGBTQ relationships, such as*:

  • Threatening to out you to family, friends or employers

  • Threatening to out you to ex-partners or systems to jeopardize custody of children. In some states, regardless of whether both people have raised the child or are even on the child’s birth certificate, the non-biological parent does not have legal rights.

  • Saying no one will believe you because of societal misconceptions about who can be a victim.

  • Using their ability to "pass" as straight or cisgender to discredit you, put you in danger or use systems against you.

  • Portraying the abuse as mutual, particularly among men. Suggesting that it is normal for men to fight.

  • Accusing you of cheating because you are bisexual.

  • Questioning if you are a "real" LGBTQ person. Using this as an excuse to isolate you from other people who are not part of the LGBTQ community.

  • Controlling your medication or healthcare such as hormones or PrEP

Heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia in society also create additional barriers to folks receiving help and resources. This compounds the already traumatic experience of being abused by a partner. LGBTQ victims may feel pressure to stay silent for fear that others will see same-sex relationships as violent or unhealthy. If systems like the criminal justice system, child protection agencies, domestic violence programs, shelters and healthcare systems aren’t welcoming to LGBTQ people, victims are less likely to seek and receive essential life-saving services.

Everyone deserves to be safe and respected in their relationship and to receive the help that they need on their journey from fear to hope.

Not sure what some of these terms mean? Here are some definitions to help you be more knowledgeable.

LGBTQ: an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer

Cisgender: describes people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth

Transgender: describes people whose gender identity does not math their sex assigned at birth

PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily pill that can prevent HIV infection

Heterosexism: a system of bias and discrimination in favor of straight sexuality and relationships.

Homophobia: dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people

Transphobia: dislike of or prejudice against transgender people

*Learn more and look at the LGBTQ Wheel of Power and Control by visiting


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