While the dynamics of intimate partner violence in LGBTQ relationships are the same as those in heterosexual relationships, homophobia, heterosexism and transphobia offer unique tactics abusers can use and create extra barriers for victims/survivors.
Transgender women are three times more likely to be stalked, experience financial abuse, and/or endure sexual harassment than individuals who do not identify as transgender.1
43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical abuse, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35% of heterosexual women.2
Men are not immune to abusive relationships - 26% of gay men and more than 37% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical abuse, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29% of heterosexual men.3
Abusive partners may:
- Deny the situation based on the false notion that abuse only happens between a man and a woman.
- Threaten to “out” their partner if they have not publicly revealed their sexual orientation or gender identity, which could mean losing friends, not being accepted in their faith communities, and experiencing discrimination at work.
- Tell partner they will be in trouble because they look more “masculine”; or because they do not fit into society’s traditional gender roles.
- Try to hide the abuse to prevent tarnishing the image of the LGBTQ community.
- Be reluctant to seek help from law enforcement and other systems because of the fear of being discriminated against or mistreated just because of who they are.
- Be unaware that domestic violence organizations offer services for women and men regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Resources for people experiencing violence in an LGBTQ+ relationship.
1 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence in 2016, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
2,3 Intimate Partner Violence in the United States - 2010, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention