Abuse in LGBTQ Relationships
Anyone can experience abuse in their relationships and LGBTQ relationships are no different. Statistics show that relationship abuse occurs at the same rates, and sometimes higher rates due to barriers to support, in LGBTQ relationships when compared to relationships that are not LGBTQ.
- LGBTQ teens experience dating abuse more frequently than teens who do identify as LGBTQ. (Urban Institute)
In addition to common warning signs, there may be other signs present in LQBTQ relationships that indicate that a relationship is unhealthy or abusive:
- Pressuring someone to be “out” or threatening to “out” them to other people
- Using a person’s identity, orientation, expression to make them feel inferior or like they deserve the abuse
- Telling someone their identity isn’t real, or that they aren’t a “real” man or woman
- Restricting a person’s access to medication and affirming care (ex: hormones, counseling, birth control, PrEP/PEP)
- Denying abuse based on the false belief that abuse only happens between a man and a woman
Barriers to Support
It can be challenging for anyone to seek help during or after an abusive relationship, but there can be additional obstacles for people who identify as LGBTQ. Shame, homophobia/transphobia/heterosexism, or the fear of being outed may keep someone from seeking support. There may be a fear of not being taken seriously because of the belief that dating/domestic violence does not occur in LGBTQ relationships or that the relationship isn’t a “real” relationship. Abusive partners can take advantage of these additional barriers to further the abuse happening in the relationship.