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LGBTQ+ Relationships and Domestic Violence

Family or Dating Violence

This article provides information on domestic violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships.

Learn more about LGBTQ+ relationship abuse and domestic violence. This article goes over what LGBTQ+ domestic violence is and what it can look like. This article features information and resources for LGBTQ+ survivors of family or dating violence. 

Special thanks to the Texas Council on Family Violence for their contributions to this article.

What is LGBTQ+ family or relationship abuse?

Domestic violence or relationship abuse is a systematic pattern of intentional intimidation that is reinforced by violence or threat of violence for the purpose of gaining or maintaining power and control over one’s partner. 

It happens in the LGBTQ+ community too. Recent studies show that, compared to heterosexuals, LGBTQ+ members fall victim to domestic violence at an equal or higher rate.  

Who is at risk of domestic violence?

Anyone can be at risk of domestic violence. Regardless of race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, education, politics, religion, or lifestyle. 

Domestic violence exists in the LGBTQ+ community. It is not a problem limited to heterosexual relationships. 

Can LGBTQ+ survivors leave abusive or violent relationships easily?

Domestic violence does exist among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people and in other sexual minority communities. It is not a problem limited to heterosexual relationships. 

What can LGBTQ+ relationship abuse or domestic violence look like?

LGBTQ+ relationship abuse or domestic violence can look like what it would look like in any other relationship. Such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, isolation, financial abuse, and more. LGBTQ+ abuse can also include blaming the abuse on the victim's identity, threats to “out” them, denying access to hormones, not allowing the victim to heal from gender-affirming surgery, using LGBTQ+ stereotypes to intimidate and threaten them, and more. 

What prevents LGBTQ+ people from seeking help?

There are many barriers that can stop LGBTQ+ victims from seeking help. A victim may fear for their life or safety or that of others, such as their children. They may be ashamed and embarrassed. They may fear being outed. They may fear stereotypes as it may cause a lack of belief due to them. They may even feel a sense of responsibility to hide the abuse in order to protect the image of the LGBTQ+ community. 

What should I do If I am in an abusive relationship?

If you are an LGBTQ+ person who is a victim of abuse, you have options. 

  • Tell someone. You might be afraid of what others will think but telling someone is a huge and important first step.
  • Find resources. Please see below. 

List of Resources

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are a victim of relationship abuse or domestic violence, remember that this is not your fault and that there are many resources available to provide you with the help you deserve.  

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