Domestic Violence in the LGBT Community

LGBT-Domestic-Abuse-Early-Day-Motion-CampaignThe LGBT Resource Center offers support and educational information to create a safe place in our community. One of the topics that we take very seriously is domestic violence in the LGBT community. A 2010 report published by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that individuals who self-identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual have an equal or higher prevalence of experiencing domestic violence as compared to self-identified heterosexuals.

Victims of same-sex domestic violence face added challenges including:

  • Abusive LGBT partners may threaten to “out” their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity to coworkers, family, friends and others.
  • LGBT victims may be reluctant to report abuse to legal authorities because doing so would force them to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Domestic violence shelters, while increasingly responsive to the needs of LGBT victims, may not admit gay male victims

Abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships use all the same tactics to gain power and control as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships- physical, sexual or emotional abuse, financial control, isolation and more.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline website indicates that “abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships use all the same tactics to gain power and control as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships- physical, sexual or emotional abuse, financial control, isolation and more. But abusive partners in LGBTQ relationships also reinforce their tactics that maintain power and control with societal factors that compound the complexity a survivor faces in leaving or getting safe in an LGBTQ relationship.”

More gay and lesbian victims of abuse are reporting their experiences as the general public has become increasingly more accepting of same-sex relationships. Still, barriers to equal treatment for same-sex couples remain. Survivors of same-sex domestic violence can receive the acknowledgment and help they need with further research, better training for law enforcement officials, and more funding for relevant programs. It is also important that they know they can get legal help at any point, whether that is through a Harrisburg domestic violence Attorney or an attorney in their location, so they can break free and fight against what happened to them.

Several individuals in the LGBT community have shared their stories of domestic violence below-

“This has nothing to do with gender, sexuality, race, culture. It has everything to do with how we treat and love people in our communities. So, what I am asking for is continued support, and also much, much more support, because I believe that if I went back to my partner, I would have died. And I don’t want that for myself, I don’t want that for my sister, I don’t want that for any man, woman, or child on this Earth.” (Anonymous, survivor)

“The clerk was friendly when she gave Erin* the paperwork and began giving her instructions. When Erin said the person she wanted a restraining order against was her ex-girlfriend, the clerk wasn’t so nice anymore. She sort of rolled her eyes-she began repeating everything Erin said, not for clarity I thought, but out of some kind of disbelief. She said… ‘Well, you can fill out the form anyway, but if she doesn’t have any weapons, you don’t have a very good case, do you?’ Erin cried- she was frustrated and started doubting that she would be granted a restraining order. We ended up leaving.” (Anonymous friend of a survivor. *Name changed)

“It was my first relationship. First long-term relationship. But you know I was- I was head over heels madly in love and I thought this is the relationship for life. And it started out really good. This woman was nine years older than myself. It was verbally abusive to start off with and then physically, I was, quite often had black eyes and she tried-she almost killed me once. Strangled me and then this went on for three years. I was too young and insecure about the whole relationship- gay relationships, whatever. Anybody could have walked all over me.” (Ellen)

The LGBT Center is a place where someone can walk in and receive help, access resources and talk to a friendly face. Click here to learn more about The Center.

We invite you to learn more and break the silence about domestic violence issues by attending The Return of Social Change, a community forum that will be held in Cortland on July 23. The LGBT Center will be there to speak on this topic with the intention to create awareness. For more information or to register for this free event click here.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline -online chat available

1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233) 24 Hour Crisis & Support Line

Vera House – Syracuse NY

1 (315) 468-3260 24 Hour Crisis & Support Line

The New York State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Domestic Violence Network

1 (212) 714-1141 24 Hour Hotline