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LGBTQ Relationships and Abuse

National Domestic Violence Hotline

LGBTQ Relationships and Abuse

Approximately 23 percent of LGBTQ men and 50 percent of LGBTQ women experience abuse from their intimate partners (VAWNET). This means that members of the LGBTQ community are slightly more likely to experience abuse than straight couples.

Same-sex partners who are abusive and controlling use all the same tactics to gain power & control in relationships as heterosexual abusive partners – physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, financial control, isolation, etc. But same-sex partners who are abusive also reinforce their tactics that maintain power & control with societal factors that compound the complexity a survivor faces in leaving or getting safe in a same-sex relationship.

Same-sex abusive partners use discrimination and rejection to control their partners, and may threaten to ‘out’ them to family members, employers, community members.

• Survivors may experience incredible isolation in LGBTQ relationships that are abusive. Friends or family may have rejected them, distanced themselves or made unsupportive, homophobic statements when the survivor came out or talked about their relationships.
• It may be hard for someone who is LGBTQ to recognize that their relationship is abusive, especially if it is their first time being in a same-sex couple. They may simply think that this is what all same-sex relationships look like because they don’t have the experience to tell them otherwise. This misconception may also be encouraged by their abusive partner.
• Some legal remedies that are available to heterosexual survivors are not available to gay, lesbian, trans or bi survivors. Because some states do not legally recognize same-sex relationships, survivors may be unable to seek protective orders. Same-sex survivors who are immigrants are unable to self-petition under VAWA.

If you are in an unhealthy or dangerous relationship and not sure where you can get support, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here 24/7 and serve everyone affected by domestic violence.

We can help connect you to local programs, including some, like these, that specifically serve the LGBTQ survivors of partner abuse:

Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse
Seattle, WA

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project
Cambridge, MA

The Network la Red
Boston, MA

New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
New York, NY

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