October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. DV awareness has been an annual monthly event since 1987, yet for most of movement’s history the research has focused on heterosexual relationships – largely leaving out members of the LGBTQ community. Now, new research is showing that LGBTQ people fall victim to domestic violence at equal or even higher rates compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 26.9% of gay men reported experiencing Interpersonal Violence (IPV) in their lifetimes and 12.1% had experienced it in the past year. Among lesbians, IVP is higher than for heterosexual women, and bisexual women are 2.6 times more likely to report having experienced intimate partner sexual violence as compared to heterosexual women. What’s more, findings of lifetime IPV among transgender people range from 31.1% to 50.0%.
As with all abusive relationships, LGBTQ survivors can experience a partner’s power and control via physical abuse, financial abuse, and mental abuse (such as ridiculing a partner’s body and/or appearance). But several aspects of intimate partner violence can be unique to the LGBTQ community. For one, “outing” or threatening to reveal a partner’s sexual orientation/gender identity can be used as tool of abuse in violent relationships. Other forms of abuse may include:
- Using offensive pronouns such as “it” to refer to a transgender partner
- Telling the partner that he or she is not a real man or woman
- Ridiculing the partner’s identity as “bisexual,” “trans,” “femme,” “butch,” “gender queer,” etc.
When you add this to the trauma of prior experiences of LGBTQ trauma, such as bullying and hate crimes, these survivors of are often less likely to see help. Plus, people who have been marginalized often have limited access to helping resources due to the effects of structural oppression.
If you know an LGBTQ victim of interpersonal violence who needs help, contact L.A. CADA at (562) 906-2676.
Find out more about: LGBTQ Abuse and the National Hotline