Abuse in LGBTQ+ Communities
While abuse among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning “plus” (LGBTQ+) people occurs at the same rates and in similar ways as their heterosexual peers, LGBTQ+ people may face forms of abuse or barriers to accessing support specifically based on prejudices against their gender expression or sexuality.
Obstacles to reaching safety that LGBTQ+ people might confront include:
Fear of isolation
or ostracization from your family or community stemming from their prejudice. Abusive partners may use isolation to increase your dependence on them or limit your ability to access support. If you haven’t come out publicly yet or belong to a religious community, traditional family, or oppressive home environment, fear of what will happen when you reveal your identity might prevent you from seeking help. Depending on your social circumstances, a small or tight-knit LGBTQ+ community could make you feel increasingly isolated if you fear no one will support you because your abuser is well-liked.
Shame or embarrassment around your identity
as a result of internalized homophobia. Abusive partners may try to exert power and control over your life by insulting you based on your insecurities, refusing your respect your pronouns or chosen name, attempting to shame you over how you choose to have sex, or threatening to out you to others.
Fear of not receiving services
because of discrimination or stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people or relationships used to minimize the abuse you’re experiencing. Abusive partners may try to convince you that you won’t be supported if you seek help; remember that there are service providers across the country that offer support specifically to LGBTQ+ survivors. Contact us to speak with an advocate about LGBTQ+ service referrals.
Legal protections that vary state by state
affecting your ability or willingness to seek legal recourse against your abusive partner. Learn about domestic violence in your area by looking through our impact and state reports.