Violence and LGBTQ Relationships

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Domestic Violence and the LGBTQ Community

It happens here too

The same issues of power and control can be present in the whole continuum of relationships, no matter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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/family, 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.


  • 11% of lesbians reported violence by their female partner
  • 15% of gay men who had lived with a male partner reported being victimized by their partner
  • Roughly half of intersex and transgender individuals have been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner
  • 13.2% of bisexual men and 11.6% of gay men were raped in adulthood, compared to 1.6% of heterosexual men
  • 46% of bisexual women have been raped, compared to 13% of lesbians and 17% of heterosexual women
  • 25% of transgender individuals reported being sexually assaulted after the age of 13

Resources for people experiencing violence in a LGBTQ Relationships

The Safe Center Hotline
Hotline: 516-542-0404

GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project
Hotline: 800-832-1901

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
For crisis intervention and referral.

The Network / La Red Hotline (English/ Español)
Hotline: 1-617- 742-4911
For confidential support, information, and referrals to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender supportive resources.

The Trevor Project Helpline
Hotline: 866-488-7386
Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. Available via phone, chat, text, and online social networking.

The Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
AVP provides critical services at the intersection of violence prevention and equality for LGBTQ and HIV-affected people.

GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project
The GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides free and confidential support and services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Native Youth Sexual Health Network
The Native Youth Sexual Health Network provides culturally relevant resources and has developed a comprehensive online directory of Two Spirit organizations and social media tools for the LGBTQ community.

Pride For Youth
A service and advocacy  organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) youth in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties.

The Network / La Red English / Español
Survivor-led Organizing to End Partner Abuse
Dirigida por sobrevivientes. Movilizando para acabar con el abuso de pareja.
A national resource and model for domestic violence service providers, batterer intervention programs, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and/or transgender organizations beginning to address partner abuse in LGBQ/T relationships.

The Northwest Network
The NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in our community and across the country.

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