11% of lesbians reported violence by their female partner and 15% of gay men who had lived with a male partner reported being victimized by their partner.
A study by the Survivor’s Project found that roughly half of intersex and transgender individuals have been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner.
Unique Tactics of Abuse Related to Homophobia and Heterosexism
The dynamics of domestic violence in LGBTQ relationships are the same as those in heterosexual relationships. However, there are unique tactics abusers can use in an LGBTQ relationship that are related to how society treats the LGBTQ community (homophobia and heterosexism). This includes:
- Threatening to “out” the victims if they have not publicly revealed their sexual identity, which could mean losing friends, not being accepted in their faith communities, and (depending on state laws) could mean losing their jobs and/or being evicted
- The abusive partner denying the abuse on the basis of the idea that abuse only happens between a man and a woman (heterosexism bias in society)
- Victims fearing that society will reject them because they do not fit in the traditional gender roles of society. For example, society tends to punish people who do not meet traditional expectations of masculinity and femininity and may even blame those people for the abuse.
- The victim may even try to hide the abuse to prevent tarnishing the image of the LGBTQ community
These potential barriers may dissuade or prevent LGBTQ victims of abuse from reaching out for help.
Resources for people experiencing violence in an LGBTQ relationship