Domestic abuse doesn’t just affect heterosexual relationships, but can be found in all relationships regardless of sexuality, gender, religion, economic status, culture and location. Domestic abuse can be present in any type of relationship however the way in which it presents may be different. This page covers how domestic abuse can occur and presents itself in non-heterosexual relationships.
The LGBTQ+ community consists of individuals that identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning plus others. It has been estimated that 1 in 4 people from the LGBTQ+ community experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.*
Both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ individuals share many commonalities in types of abuse experienced. However there are some forms of abuse that are specific to the LGBTQ+ population.
This can include but is not limited to –
- Threats to disclose sexual orientation, “out” without consent to family, friends or work colleagues.
- Question your sexuality by suggesting you are not a real lesbian or a real gay man.
- Convince a partner that no one will believe their account of abuse, because of societal myths that domestic abuse does not occur in same sex relationships.
- Abusive partner may manipulate an LGBTQ+ person into believing that abusive behaviours are part of a “normal” relationship.
- Abusive partner may coerce their partner into concealing the abuse to protect the image of the LGBT community.
- Threaten to tell others that you have HIV/ AIDS.
Transgender-specific forms of abuse
For people who identify as transgender domestic abuse can occur in the following ways:
- Threaten to disclose your trans identity without consent.
- Prevent you from telling other people about your trans background or identity.
- Prevent access to medication or treatment needed to express your gender identity (e.g. hormones, surgery).
- Stop the expression of your gender identity through changes in your appearance (e.g. the clothes you wear, hair, make up).
- Stop the expression of your gender identity through how you describe yourself (e.g. the name and pronouns you use) or “Dead-name”.
- Made you feel ashamed, guilty, or wrong about your trans background or identity.
- Drawn attention to parts of your body that you feel uncomfortable about.
- Stopped you from engaging with other trans people or attending transgender social groups and support groups.
It should be noted that domestic abuse prevalence rates in LGBT+ relationships are difficult to quantify reliably as typical domestic abuse survey’s do not commonly differentiate between the gender of victims and perpetrators. Furthermore LGBT+ statistics have been found to be dependent on whether a study was conducted in an open “out” environment e.g. pride events or a medical centre (Pommy Harmar et al. 2016)
If you have experienced domestic abuse or are currently experiencing domestic abuse then there are various support services available.
You can contact us directly on 01554 752422 alternatively you can contact:
Galop – Galop are a specific LGBT+ charity aimed at eradicating all forms of violence towards members of the community. Galop also run a specific LGBT domestic abuse helpline which is accessible via: 0800 999 5428 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stonewall – Stonewall provide up-to-date information and statistics about topics which directly impact members of the LGBT+ community.
Women’s Aid – Women’s Aid provide support to anyone affected by domestic abuse. This link provide further information specific to the LGBT+ community.